Just A Pinch

May 9, 2009
by Lauretta Balderston

Looking through old recipes one day, I found the recipe for homemade bread that I had tried to make with Mom years ago. The sheet was folded twice and had yellowed with age. A smile crept across my face as I remembered that cold wintry day in the hot kitchen, and Mom wearing her curly cap to keep hair from her face while she worked. I remember I had an old curly cap, too, "so no hair would fall in the dough," Mom had said.

Mom had been making bread, the old-fashioned way, with no breadmaker, since she was nine years old. She gathered all the necessary ingredients and then said, "Well, let's get at it! You watch me and do the same thing."

Studiously, I watched her every move as she deftly went from the flour, yeast, warm water, sugar, eggs, and milk, and worked the dough expertly into a large, roundish ball. Her small hands moved knowingly and swiftly while my fingers fumbled in the mixture. She said nothing about my squarish-looking lump but carefully wrapped towels over the top of both bowls and set them on the warming oven so the dough would rise. I anxiously waited for that dough to rise to the top of the bowl, peeking at it a number of times. But dough rises on its own terms and in its own time.

Mom was not going to waste the day while she waited, so she made pies, cookies, and loaves. My anticipation was mounting. When would this bread be oven-ready?

Finally, after two more "punch-downs", Mom said we should shape the bread to the size of the loaves we wanted. She showed me how to put it carefully into the right-sized greased pans and brush it with butter on the top and sides. At long last, the aroma of fresh bread wafted through the house, making me hungry.

When the bread was removed from the oven and set to cool, my loaves were a tad lopsided, but I was very pleased with my accomplishment. Mom's bread was perfectly shaped, as usual. I realized I hadn't written down the measurements.

Then came the crunch. "Mom," I said, "where is your recipe written? I want to copy it so I'll remember exactly how to do this." She smiled as only a mother smiles, with an all-knowing look, and said, "There's no recipe written, dear. You just take a pinch of this and a few pinches of that, and it all works out."

So here I had a list of ingredients that make bread when combined properly — with "just a pinch or two" as the measurements. Needless to say, my bread-making abilities haven't really improved.

God takes our efforts, even when all we have is a pinch of faith, and uses them for His glory, in His time — and it always "just works out" as He wants. "If you have faith as small as a mustard seed… nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20 NIV)

Psalm 34:10b – Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. (NIV)

Prayer: Dear Lord, please continue to work in us and use our limitations as we share with others how great and marvellous You are to us. We praise Your holy name! Amen.

About the author:

Lauretta Balderston <laure@eastlink.ca>
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

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