The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground.
He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant.”
“Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.”
So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah. “Quick,” he said, “get three seahs of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread.”
Then he ran to the herd and selected a choice, tender calf and gave it to a servant, who hurried to prepare it. He then brought some curds and milk and the calf that had been prepared, and set these before them. While they ate, he stood near them under a tree.
- Genesis 18:1-8
My wife loves to watch cooking competitions, especially baking competitions. She cannot eat the stuff that they bake, as we are both on strict diets. My wife laughed during one episode recently. The contestants had to make maamoul. They had no idea what it was, but my wife has some of the tiny pastries, individually wrapped, when she wants, and sometimes needs, a little treat – just the right amount of sugar without too much potassium.
Since my wife has learned how to roam the streaming services on her Smart TV, she finds a lot of cooking competitions. She is presently binge watching the Great British Bake Off, or Baking Show. The contestants are working for a plate and bragging rights. They are amateurs and there seems to be no cash prize. They do a season recap at the end, showing how the bakers went back to school, work, whatever. In some cases, especially when a baker had trouble accomplishing something, the credits would say that the baker was now getting that skill done better.
I am used to American testosterone-filled baking shows. A lot of money and cutthroat. When something made by the competitor collapses, the others smile softly, knowing that they are safe from elimination from the competition for another week. Heartless and cold – for the most part. Then again, it is the money that could make a big difference in their business.
But something caught my eye in one of the British Bake Off episodes. I decided to watch it with her. Then, as I watched, I saw something amazing, nothing to do with baking, but with life. They had baked something that was supposed to be a pudding and jelly center with something like ladyfingers around the outside, holding it together. One baker slid the mold off his baked dish and there was a breakout between two of the ladyfingers. Two of the other bakers ran over to help and the camera panned around the other bakers in the room. They were all concerned about the baker whose cake had flopped. All quit working, during a timed competition, until the leaking cake was at least plugged.
I sat dumbfounded. This is what life should be like. There was no sigh of relief because one baked dish was definitely the worst. No, they stopped working on their dish to help or stand aside and watch, hoping that the repairs would be successful.
I have written about how I feel that there will be no competition in Heaven and that competition on earth is far too serious. But this type of competition touched my heart. It was like the time in the special Olympics when one of the runners fell. The other runners stopped. They helped up the one who had fallen, and they all crossed the finish line holding hands.
We can learn a great life lesson from this type of competition, not just exotic forms of baked goods and baking techniques. We can learn about life. And at the end of each series. All the bakers return with their families. For the true winners are the families of the bakers, after their baking relative has learned so many wonderful techniques from the other contestants.
And why this particular Scripture? It is the first reference to anyone baking something to eat in the Bible, and who is it that is enjoying Sarah’s baked bread? The Lord. Note that Abraham calls Him Lord and is not corrected, as an angel would do. Others may argue, but I feel this is a Christophany and Abraham is serving bread to his eventual descendant, Jesus, the Christ.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.