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How A Charcoal BBQ is like Working with God

In the Spirit of Canada Day, here are a few thoughts on my experience in switching from natural gas barbecueing (or grilling, as our USAmerican friends call it) to real charcoal barbecueing.

Maybe there’s a lesson about faith in it.

  • You can light charcoal naturally. Rather than laying the charcoal out on a grill, dousing it with tons of lighter fluid and throwing a match on it like we used to to do it,or the push start of a gas grill, I use a chimney starter for my charcoal. It’s all natural (no lighter fluid).  It cooperates with the forces of nature (air intake, the way flames rise etc) to get the charcoal lit fast.  Analogy: instead of artificially trying to get God moving in my life, it’s much better if I cooperate with the way God naturally wants to move. Scripture tells us how God works and what matters to Him. I just need to figure out how and cooperate with Him.
  • Charcoal creates a real fire that has a life of its own.  You get real hot spots, and the temperature of the fires can vary from day to day depending on how you build them and what the weather is.  That means it’s a much more interactive process than gas grilling.  Analogy: so much of what we try to do in our spiritual life is related to controlling God.  It’s way more rewarding to respond to God.
  • Grilling with charcoal creates more smoke.  Our friends have had to duck smoke and even move off the deck at times.  Analogy: God is not always convenient, and when He’s present, He’s hard to miss.
  • Charcoal-grilled food tastes so much better than gas or propane-grilled food.  It’s that simple.  While grilling with charcoal takes more effort and is much more interactive, the flavour is in a whole other category. Analogy: do we need one?

As I think about the activity of God in my life, I’m glad I follow a slightly unpredictable, interactive God over whom I have little control, but who produces an incredible work in me when I cooperate with Him.

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