Yesterday I made dinner and dessert for a friend going through a hard time. I was feeling pretty good about my endeavors as I loaded the food into my van. One of the latches of the cake saver failed. At least one-third of the cake was now in the back of my van. Literally, it was laying on its side. I salvaged almost two-thirds of the cake, all mangled and sad-looking. I took the meal to my friend, mangled cake and all. She laughed and later told me the cake was delicious anyway. I then ran my kids around, made dinner, put them to bed, spent some time with my sweet husband, but never got around to cleaning the cake out of my van.
I look up at the clock. “Yep,” I sigh, “it is time to take your sisters to school. I will have to wait to change you until we get home.”
One of his sisters declares, “I don’t want to smell his poop mommy,” as we wander out to the van.
Suddenly the smell of mangled chocolate cake, left in the car since yesterday afternoon, mingled with the smell of poop from my son’s diaper reaches my nostrils.
My oldest dubbed the smell, “Poop Cake.”
Nasty, but as I was thinking about it, it is true. How often do I try to make what I am doing for God to look like a beautiful cake? Chocolate, moist, yummy. I bake it beautifully and try to decorate it so that it is irresistible. However, I am not baking the cake for God, I am baking it so that others see what I am doing or to hide that I do not want to do what God is calling me to do. See what a great Christian I am? I made a cake for God! Maybe I do not want to share a certain part of my past that would touch women, so I minister to children instead. Perhaps I don’t want others to see the depth of my sin, so I don’t seek a mentor. Instead I mentor others. I make meals for people to hide the fact that I am not praying for them as I should. People see my beautiful cake, they think it is chocolate, but soon they discover it is poop cake. I am dressing up my sin of pride, omission, gossip, whatever as a cake, when the truth is, it is filth. The world may not know what it is and I may receive accolades for my service, but God knows. He sees that my offerings to Him are nothing but waste. I can dress it up any way I want, but God knows. He knows that instead of my best, instead of my all, I am giving poop cake.
When we take time to be real with others, when we share our mangled cakes, we honor God and bless others. How? It is only then that God can shine through our lives. Max Lucado put it this way (this is my revised version of his quote), “God’s smile is not for the healthy hiker who boasts he made it on his own. No, it is for the lame leper who begs for a back on which to ride.” Our mangled, messy lives are what God wants us to offer Him. Psalm 51:17 tells us,”The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” God isn’t asking you to come beautiful and pretty. He isn’t asking you to offer what you think is right or good. He doesn’t want your poop-cake. He wants your broken lives. He wants your contrite heart.
Father, forgive me for offering You poop-cake. Forgive me for being more concerned about what others think than of obeying You. Help me to offer my all to You, mangled cake, and all. Thank You that I don’t have to be perfect to come to You. You perfect me. Amen.