I love making pizza, almost as much as I enjoy eating it! However, most of my times goes into making that foundation, the dough. I not only have to take the time to knead it properly, but I also have to take the time to let it rise. Finally, once that is done, I can begin to stretch it to let it take shape.
Did you ever try to stretch pizza dough that wasn't ready to be stretched? At times I try to shortcut the process if I'm running late; however it's never an easy task. It's sort of like trying to stretch a rubber band and make it keep its shape! No easy feat, and one that often leaves me frustrated.
A friend and I were talking yesterday and he reflected that in order to grow, we need to stretch. I shared how I've grown in my faith, outreach, and have done more things to challenge that. It's been fruitful, but it's been a stretch; a challenge. Much like that dough, we need to stretch to begin to take the shape of the cross. Much like that dough it takes time, and multiple pulls, tugs, and spins in various directions, as our natural reaction is to retract into that rubbery ball of self. Eventually though, even our retractions begin to show signs of growth.
At times, like the dough, we need to just sit and wait on God. Let His Word and Spirit leaven us so that we are ready to be stretched some more. Much like dough began as a grain of wheat, we too began with just a seed. Though through refinement, and His love and care, we can begin to make something out of that seed.
Though like all good pizza, the fun and flavor comes in those toppings! Once stretched, He begins to grow His fruit on us. This pliable foundation that has been shaped is now a medium for many different and wonderful things. Each pizza is different, but delicious in their own right. Likewise, we have different spiritual gifts that we are used to reach others. Not every pizza is the same, and not every brother or sister is the same.
Yet without stretching and yielding to the Holy Spirit's call on our life, we become a rubbery ball that is left with only potential. He still loves us; but oh how much more glorious it will be to see Christ on that day hold us up to the Father and say, "Look what I made Father!"
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)