As I looked around the church one Sabbath morning, I noticed that many of our regular members were missing, and most of those present looked tired and pale. Throughout the sermon, my husband had to speak a little louder to be heard over the coughs that echoed through the congregation. It didn’t take a medical degree to figure out that colds and the flu had hit our flock with tremendous force.
The next morning I took out my biggest kettle and went to work concocting my secret recipe of super-duper noodle soup. In my opinion, this soup is sure to make you feel better, and if you’ve eaten it and don’t feel better, it’s a sign that you’d better call the doctor!
Carefully, I loaded jars of my miracle brew into the back seat of my car and headed for the homes of our ailing church members. I was filled with a warm feeling of goodwill. Our parishioners appreciated my gift, and I was rewarded with many warm smiles and words of thanks.
Finally, there were only two homes left. As I opened the gate to the next house, I was greeted by three barking dogs. Fortunately, they were chained, but none of them looked happy to see me. Watching their bared teeth, I slunk past the first big black one, weaving out of reach of his chain. Zig-zagging back, I made my way past the second dog—a hairy mongrel just as menacing as the first. Now there was just one left, the little brown mutt chained by the steps. I climbed the steps on the far side, thinking I was safe.
But that little dog, stretching the chain to its full length, jumped and was able to reach me. Just as I’d feared, I felt needle-sharp teeth sinking into my flesh where I sit down. A sharp pain seemed to shoot down my leg. Needless to say, my visit was a short one; I left my soup and got out of there quick!
That warm fuzzy feeling I’d been so full of before was gone, and I made an impulsive vow never to take soup to sick people again. For the next two days (during which I did very little sitting), I felt that my circumstances were unfair. After all, I reasoned, I had been out doing good work, and this was my reward.
But then, the still, small voice reminded me of Jesus “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). My Savior had suffered much more than a dog-bite on my behalf, and He never tired of doing good things for me. Clearly I began to see that only His many blessings in my life can motivate me to be “zealous of good works.” Letting Him work through me is the greatest reward I can possibly have. The warm, fuzzy feeling started to creep back into my soul.
I prayed a prayer of understanding that day: “O Lord Jesus, today I want to reflect on the many good things You’ve done for me—not the few that I’ve done for others. And only when I realize what You have done for me am I enabled to let You live in me and be zealous to do good. That partnership is the only reward I seek. Please help me always to see Your good works and not my own. Amen.”
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Marsha’s Noodle Soup
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced 2-3 celery stalks, chopped
1 large onion, chopped 8 cups water
2 tablespoons chicken seasoning
1 bag fine egg noodles Fresh parsley
Boil the vegetables in water and seasoning until they are almost tender, about 10 minutes. Use kitchen shears to cut the parsley into the soup. Stir in the noodles and simmer for 5 more minutes. Add more seasoning or water if necessary.