It is Sunday evening, and I’ve just finished cooking up a pot of curried lentils. The curry powder and garam masala with which I seasoned them were freshly made. I may not have shipped enough long-sleeved shirts, but I made sure I didn’t skimp on my spices!
To make garam masala, it’s necessary to first toast whole spices in a pan over low heat. My favorite garam masala recipe has eleven separate spices in varying quantities. It needs more than 2tbsp of several of them (like cinnamon, coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves), and around a teaspoon of others (fennel, nutmeg, mace).
As I measured and poured, the bottom of my small pan was quickly covered. The final spice needed was saffron. You probably already know this, but saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, made by carefully hand-picking the stigma of a specific crocus flower.
The amount of saffron for this recipe was 1/16 of a tsp. That equates to around 4 of those precious strands.Looking in my pan, I hesitated with whether or not to add the saffron. I only shipped one teeny bottle (I’m not kidding about it being expensive!) so every bit counts.
As I said, the pan bottom was covered, altogether around ½ cup’s worth of other spices. Would I even miss the saffron after toasting and grinding up all the rest? How would those few strands add anything?
And, that got me to thinking about my little life in the midst of all the big stuff going on. I allow myself to get overwhelmed with the immensity of the problems and concerns of the people of El Callejon.
I don’t think I’m alone in sometimes feeling like there’s nothing much I can do in the face of the kind of brokenness and evil present in the world. It’s too much, too hard, others can do so much more. Who’d even notice if I don’t show?I noticed a tiny speck of saffron had fallen onto a wet spot on the counter. As small as it was, it began ‘blooming’, turning the water bright yellow. Had I allowed it to stay, the color would have continued to spread, permanently staining the counter top.
Leaning down, I could smell its distinct perfume. It didn’t realize it was too small to make an impact. It just did what it was created to do.
That decided it. Into the pan went the saffron strands. And, as my simple lentils elevated into a delectable dish, can attest to, it was definitely the right call!Oh Father, thank you! Thank you that you have given each one of us a place in Your amazing plan of redemption. Thank you, Jesus, for purchasing us at a great price. Holy Spirit, all alone we can feel so small and weak. Bloom in us so that we live lives which impact the world for God’s glory. May we be a sweet perfume to You, Triune God.