3 Things The Chili Cook-off Taught Me

3 Things The Chili Cook-off Taught Me

In a night full of good things, here are some moments that stood out as lessons we can carry into the rest of our life together at Good Shepherd.

Generosity Begets Generosity

At some point during the pie action the high school youth decided to show their gratitude to the crowd by making a contribution of their own and collectively purchasing a pie. They were literally pulling pennies out of their pockets and counting them on the steps up front. When the congregation saw this, they pitched in to help the youth buy the pie they were trying to purchase to show their appreciation. Generously enabling others to be generous -that’s a beautiful cycle to get caught up in! We are blessed to be a blessing.

Guests Enrich our Community

There were 2 big applause moments in the night, one was when the judges awarded a new guest, Silpa Kola an award for her outstanding chili curry. Silpa had been invited by a member to join in our fellowship and share her culinary gifts at our table. As a guest she was welcomed into our gathering and her gifts were celebrated – THAT is the body of Christ. Not to mention our other guest contestant, who come each year dressed as a professional wrestler, and always seems surprised and delighted to find a church so welcoming to his fun-loving humor…and chili too of course!

Stories Matter, So Make Time To Share Them

The other big applause of the night was when we paused to celebrate the life of Ruby Zerbe who passed away this past December at the age of 90. Ruby held the record for the most money ever brought in by a single pie at $1000.00! Her pie was as famous as her “aw shucks” humility in watching them auctioned off. We were joined Friday by Ruby’s husband John, her son and daughter-in-law , and her two dearest friends, who had accompanied her to this event for years.
A couple of GS members attempted to make Ruby’s famous pies using her recipe – and they succeeded! Chris Brinkman even delivered hers in pie plate she forgot to return to Ruby! Before we auctioned off the pie’s however, we paused to share Ruby’s story and let it bless and instruct us.

  • Ruby’s 2 dearest friends, sitting there with proud tears in their eyes, were a beautiful example to the high school kids of something we tell them all the time – church friends are good friends, hold them dear. Celebrate them, walk with them, depend on them, gather with them often – and see how rich that friendship can be when it’s formed in Christ.
  • Ruby joined the church in 1976 and never once in all that time stopped learning, worshipping, and serving. She was humble enough to know she didn’t know it all – and so she studied God’s word in community. She was wise enough not wait to serve God until she knew everything about him. She spent years serving others out of her faith in God – often by feeding them. Ruby participated in the community she was a part of so that she could grow to love it more deeply and it could grow to love her – in the name of Jesus.
  • Ruby was an engaged member of Good Shepherd during times of great cultural change in our world, as well as times of change within the church. That sort of commitment isn’t seen as often in today’s culture, but there is a gift to that sort of longevity – the repeated experience of Grace. When you remain engaged in a place, and love a people for that long, you have multiple opportunities to both give and receive grace – both from God and from others. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, that grace tastes like Coconut Cream Pie.

The night was rich in so many other ways – how could it not be folks of all ages and both campuses gathered together?
At the communion table we receive the gift of grace and liberation and belonging.
At the dinner table we receive hints of those same flavors, as we share food, laughter, tears, and stories – what a feast it was. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

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