Friday, May 1, 2020

Outdoor Object Lesson 111: Careful Care

Key Text

"He poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head, and anointed him, to sanctify him." Leviticus 8:12 (WEB)


Have you ever cooked with a cast iron skillet? After I tried one for the first time, I never went back. One reason I like them so much is because they provide an even heating surface unlike a lot of other materials that heat more in the center. A lot of people consider them old-fashion, heavy, and difficult to use. But it all depends on your experience with them. If you try one and don't know how to take care of it, then it is easy to think they are temperamental. If you know what you are doing, they can be the best tool in your kitchen and last a lifetime.

Cast iron cookware requires careful care. It takes patience to learn to use. I have seen a lot of cast iron cookware that was beat up and rusty. People think that because they are heavy and durable, they can treat them however. Most new cast iron cookware today comes pre-seasoned. This means it has a thin baked-on coat of oil that protects the iron from rusting. It also provides a natural non-stick coating. Lots of cookware comes with various non-stick coatings today such as Teflon, copper, or ceramic. The problem with these modern coatings is they degrade and begin to chip or flake after a few years of moderate use. At this stage they are no longer useful because the non-stick coatings are hazzardous to your health. You have to throw them away or recycle them.

The non-stick coating on cast iron can be reapplied easily. After every use, a piece of cast iron cookware should be cleaned gently. While it is still warm, turn the tap on hot. Once there is warm water running out of the tap, use it to clean any loose debris out of your cookware. If some is stuck, use a wooden or plastic utensil to dislodge the debris. If some is extra stubborn, sprinkle some salt or baking soda into the pan and scrub vigorously, put some elbow grease into it. Whatever you do, absolutely do not use any metal to scrape your cookware! This will mess up the seasoned non-stick coating. It is also best not to use any soap. If you feel like you must use soap, half a drop is all that's needed. While cast iron is heavy-duty, it requires careful care.

Once the bits of food are removed, its time to reapply the seasoning coat to your cookware. Dry the excess water off. Turn the stove or oven on very low and warm your dish. Once all the moister has evaporated, after at least 3-5 minutes, turn the stove off. Now take a few drops of oil and rub it into the entire surface of the pan with a paper towel or cloth. Many people sadly neglect this last step. But it is crucial to reapply the coating after every single use.

This lesson reminds me of myself. I am a tough young guy. I tend to be hard on myself spiritually. I think that because I am tough physically, it must mean I can take harsh treatment and neglect spiritually. Sometimes, I go days without prayer or Bible study. Sometimes I get busy, or I feel little need for God because things are going well in my life. I don't stop to reapply a spiritual coating to my life. In the Bible, oil was often used to designate something as having a special purpose. If I want my spiritual life to last, then it needs careful care. Neglect will lead to deep, lasting damage. But if taken care of properly, by applying spiritual oil daily, it will last eternally. Doing so reminds us we have a special purpose.

Another cool thing about cast iron is that, even if the non-stick seasoning gets damaged completely. It can be fixed. As mentioned earlier, if other non-sick coatings are damaged, the whole pan is trash. Not so with cast iron. Even if the whole pan is covered in rust, it can be repaired. Simply take a bit of soap and hot water and use a sponge to wash off the cast iron dish. If there is deep rust, you will need to remove this with sandpaper. Once down to bare metal, dry off any moister and heat the oven to 350-450 degrees F. Set the dish inside for a few minutes to let all moister evaporate. Then take it out and carefully coat the whole dish in a thin layer of oil with a paper towel. Grapeseed oil, or extra lite olive oil work best. Next place the dish upside down in the oven for 1 hour. Repeat this process 4-5 times to build up a nice seasoning layer that will protect your pan for years to come. Just remember to care for it carefully and reapply the oil after every use.

It is similar with our spiritual lives. If we neglect our spiritual connection with God, we will eventually become broken down and bare. We may end up feeling as if we are coated in rust. The great news is that God can fix this. He can restore the protective coating a close connection with him provides. It will require scrubbing with soap and hot water. It might involve some very uncomfortable sanding. We will definitely need to be placed in the hot oven for a while, perhaps several times. Sometimes, as we drift away from God, we start to notice this process going on. God is trying to restore your seasoning coat. Let him. And in the future, try to take careful care of yourself spiritually.


Why do you think it is so easy to neglect our personal spiritual relationship with God?

Take some time to think about this one. What are the top three things that lead you to neglect your personal connection with God?

Is there one strategy that could help you connect every day? What are some strategies from the Bible?

Why is careful self-care so important for your spiritual life?

Written by David F. Garner