By Sandy Mayle
Stu ate a lot. Lobster shells… smoked anchovies…roasted chicken bones… Stu even had a Twitter account and loved to tweet about what he ate.
Justine Sterling, writing in 2015 for foodandwine.com, went on to reveal that Stu was the affectionate nickname of a “perpetual stew” that had, at that point, been simmering for five months at New York City’s Louro restaurant. Delicious on its own, the rich, tasty broth also provided the base for some of Louro’s best recipes.
The concept of perpetual stew is actually centuries old. But perhaps you’re wondering what I wondered: How can a soup months, or sometimes years, old be safe to eat?
The constant simmering, wrote Sterling, meant bacteria couldn’t develop. Stu was frequently strained and regularly fed a new mixture of veggie peels, seafood scraps, and various other things. The chef, David Santos, praised the health benefits of his vitamin-and-mineral-packed Stu.
THE LONG SIMMER
When I was a young Christian in my twenties, I fell in love with A.W. Tozer’s classic, The Pursuit of God. Around that time, I started to write for Christian publications. Sunday School take-home papers and denominational magazines. Poems, small articles, little devotionals.
But I knew what I wanted to write. I wanted to write Holy Spirit-infused articles and books that pulsed with passion for God, offered meaty insights into His Word, gave long looks into His heart and ushered people deep into His presence like Tozer had done for me. Like other seasoned authors I discovered as I worked at the local Christian bookstore.
I had a sense, though, that it was too soon. That I hadn’t walked with God long enough to be able to offer such depth. I wasn’t seasoned, at that point. Hadn’t simmered long enough, been strained often enough or had enough ingredients thrown into the mix. Becoming blended, balanced and life-giving generally requires time and a variety of experiences and an ongoing submission to the Spirit’s leading.
But now? After over forty years of following Him? Chronic illness and personal gethsemanes and prodigals. Mountaintop experiences and answered prayers and unasked-for blessings. Years of simmering on the burner of life, God bending over me, pouring in His Holy Spirit and straining out the old me, frequently stirring and tasting, daily adding fresh experiences and challenges, making the inner broth of me Spirit-rich and nourishing and ever more Him and less me…
Call me Stu.
It’s not that as a brand-new believer I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say – with God’s help, I did. Sometimes newborns can bring to Christ’s body a freshness that seasoned believers cannot. But “as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him” (2 Cor. 3:18 TLB). So while I’m still far from writing a Tozer book, I’m learning that what I suspected as a young believer is true: When God is looking to serve deep, time-tested and hard-won truths to His children, when He wants them to see Him, He often ladles out Stu.
CALL YOU STU
Here’s my point. If you’ve been a committed believer for some time, you, too, are a perpetual stew. The seasonings are blending. The flavor is becoming richer. God is daily adding ingredients into the mix. What you’ve considered scraps and leftovers and peels, He’s been simmering and stirring and skimming into a rich, tasty broth that’s the flavor of Christ to those you serve.
If you’re a maturing adult but a fairly new believer, you still have a great store of life lessons and experiences that God is even now blending and infusing with Himself. Or perhaps you’ve never even begun a relationship with God by accepting Jesus’ death as payment for your sins, and turning your life over to your Him. There’s no better time to move up to the front burner and find your whole life seasoned and sweetened, its bitterness and guilt skimmed off, and the love of God stirred into the mix…
Don’t bemoan your age, then, or belittle what you have to offer today. Embrace your richness in Christ. Offer your Spirit-seasoned broth to those God brings through the doors of your life and sets at your table. Don’t call yourself “over the hill” or “gone to seed” or “past your use-by date” any longer.
Call yourself Stu.
Sandy is a freelance writer living in Erie, Pa. She loves words, nature, and solitary retreats. Her newest venture is mentoring in the equine therapy program at a nearby horse ranch. She and her husband, Dave, have three sons and three grandchildren.