One of the wonderful things about chocolate (and there are many), is how well it pairs with other foods.
Chocolate seems to go well with just about everything. It marries happily with fruits like strawberries, raspberries, pears, cherries and bananas. It perfectly complements the flavours of nuts, such as peanuts, cashews, hazelnuts, almonds and macadamia nuts.
Chocolate cheerfully coexists with citrus, coconut, ginger, caramel, coffee, dairy or mint. It has even been known to blend with the flavours of chili and meat in some Mexican dishes.
Some adventurous people claim that chocolate goes well with broccoli (well, perhaps…if you held the broccoli).
You’ve got to hand it to a food that is uncompromising about its own flavour yet harmonizes with such a wide variety of other substances.
Did you know that the Bible implies that we should be a bit like chocolate? Not in so many words, of course, but the concept is still there.
In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul describes the lengths he goes to in order to get along with differing groups of people, with the ultimate aim of winning them to Christ.
“Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ. When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law. When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.
“When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-23 NLT)
Paul didn’t compromise his beliefs, but like chocolate, he adapted his “flavour” to meld with the experiences of whomever he was talking to at the time.
I think we can do the same. We can try to find something in common with each person we encounter. These points of commonality can open doors whereby we can share the gospel with them.
Let’s not just huddle with our own clique and refuse to engage with outsiders. Instead, let’s befriend people from disparate backgrounds, from the pauper to the prince. Treat everyone with respect: show an interest in their lives, their work, their family, their culture. In so doing, you prepare the ground for the seeds of the gospel to be planted in their lives.
Jesus was a perfect example of this kind of inclusiveness. He accepted a wide variety of people into His circle, encompassing both saints and sinners. He was even criticized for the company He kept! But He knew that to save the lost you have to engage with them, not shun them. For God is not willing that any should perish, but that all might come to eternal life (2 Peter 3:9).
In the same way that chocolate combines so well with a diverse selection of foods, let’s try as Christians to harmonize with as wide a group of people as we can. As we become “all things to all people,” we have an opportunity to share the love of God with them.
May I give you a tip? Do you know the quickest way to befriend someone?
Give them some chocolate!
Chocolate, Macadamia and Ginger Bark
Just to show you how well chocolate marries with diverse ingredients, here’s The Faith Cafe’s recipe for a “bark” made with nuts and ginger.
1 cup macadamia nuts
1 cup candied ginger, chopped
8 oz bitter- or semisweet chocolate
1 Tbsp butter
If the nuts are already roasted and salted, wipe away some of the salt and chop the nuts into small pieces. If they are raw, roast them on a baking sheet at 350º F for 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool, then chop them.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces, then place in a microwave-safe dish with the butter. Microwave for a minute or two until melted. Stir until smooth.
Stir the nuts and ginger into the melted chocolate and pour into a wax-paper-lined, 8-inch square baking dish. Refrigerate until firm.
To serve, break the bark into pieces.
© 2020 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.