Earlier today, I was preparing a roast for Sunday dinner. Now, I realize everyone has their own way of doing things so I probably need to explain something here in order for this blog to make sense to most people. I was born, raised and live in Minnesota, a region of the U.S. known as "The Upper Midwest". I'm not all that far south of the U.S. Canadian border, right @cowgirldiva?
In the 19th century and early 20th century, this part of the U.S. was a very popular destination for people arriving from Sweden, Norway, Finland and of course my personal favorite... Denmark. You may not realize it but there is a rather important ingredient in Scandinavian-American cooking. No true Scandinavian-American kitchen would be without it. That ingredient is ***** (name removed for this is not an ad ) Condensed Cream Soup in a variety of flavors such as mushroom, chicken, celery and onion.
Last week, I stood in front of a shelf at my local discount grocery store. I was trying to save some pennies and contemplated, as I had on several occasions, whether to buy a different brand of this crucial ingredient. Each time I had resisted the temptation but today I noted that a generic brand which I had previously tried and liked, had cream soup. I thought for a bit. I really did need to save some pennies and this cost forty cents less than my usual brand. Hm... I decided to give it a try. I would buy one can and test it. If it didn't work, well, I had a stock of my favorite brand on hand to save the day.
As I was fixing the roast, my hand hesitated next to the "other" cream soup. Did I dare to try it today? I sighed. I would have to try it sometime but was I willing to do so on a roast? I thought a bit and then decided I would take a small taste of it before putting it on my roast. I opened the can and gingerly took a taste on the tip of my tongue. BLEEEEEEECKKKK!!!!! This was not going to go on my roast!
I hurried over to the cupboard and pulled out my regular brand of condensed cream soup. I spread it out over my seared roast and potatoes, carrots and onions, tightly covered my pan and slipped it into the oven where it is slow roasting this very moment. What did I do with the other brand? Why I put it exactly where I felt it belonged. I dumped it down the garbage disposal. Yes, that may have been a bit of money down the drain but you see, the product did not meet my standard and I have learned from my mistake.
Last night my pastor started a sermon series called "True North". A compass rarely points to what is known as "true north". Instead it points to what is known as "magnetic north". The angle between true north and magnetic north is known as "magnetic declination".
I remember observing this phenomenon as a child. I'd been given a compass and I was facing north on a street which ran due north and south. I remembering pointing out to my dad that the needle wasn't pointing north, it was pointing a bit to the northeast. I just looked up the magnetic declination of my hometown and sure enough, the declination is to the east. That is exactly why it was pointing a slight bit to the northeast. With the help of my father, my compass was reset so that it was now pointing to the true north.
Does it make a difference whether or not your compass is pointing to true north or magnetic north? Yes, it does. On a website called Compass Basics I learned that if my declination or degrees off course was 1 degree, I would be 920 feet (280 meters) off course after walking ten miles (16km). If my declination was 5 degrees, I would be 4,600 feet (1,402 meters) off course. That is more than 3/4 of a mile or 1.4 km. off course. If the declination is 10 degrees I would be off course by 1.7 miles (2.72 km). Now, this is only after 10 miles. If I continue in the direction I am going, I will only get further and further off course.
What is your standard that you measure everything against? When the other brand did not meet my standard, I didn't apply it to my roast anyway nor did I even keep it around. I pitched it. This is what we need to do with anything which does not meet the standard of the Holy Spirit. When we hold up our compass is it pointing toward the "true north" or is it being influenced by the magnetic field of this world?