Not just anyone can fix a good pumpkin pie. Oh I know the recipe is simple enough, but you have to be paying attention or you can ruin it. That’s what happened on my daughter’s birthday a few years ago.
See, when you have a fall birthday in my house, you don’t always get a normal cake. Sometimes you get pie, which is not an altogether bad deal, unless, like I said, someone messes it up.
My wife meant well, but she had a lot going on. We were packing to leave town for a few days, and she was just trying to do too many things at once. When she pulled the pie out of the oven, the edge of the crust was almost burned.
She thought it was fine, but I couldn’t let it go. This was my daughter’s birthday cake for crying out loud. I wanted it to be picture perfect. “Don’t worry about it,” I said. “I’ve got this.”
So, I grabbed a new pie crust, whipped the ingredients together and popped it in the oven. I, however, wasn’t going to make the the same mistake my wife did. I stood by the oven and watched it like a hawk.
When the timer went off I pulled it out, and I don’t mean to brag here, but this pie looked so good it would have made Martha Stewart weep with envy. The crust was golden brown, and the custard was baked to a deep caramel color, it’s nearly flawless surface ever-so-slightly cracked around the edges, cooked to perfection.
The pie was so beautiful that I didn’t know whether to put it on the table or donate it to a museum. However, since it was my daughter’s birthday, I figured she should actually get to try to bite. I just hoped my wife didn’t feel too bad about me showing her up in the kitchen.
After lunch, we put candles in the pie and sang Happy Birthday, and it was finally time to enjoy the fruit of my labor. I couldn’t wait to dig in. I served up a slice to the whole family and, then being the servant that I am, went to the fridge to grab some whipped cream before I tasted it myself.
Just as I opened the refrigerator door, my wife yelled, “Don’t eat that!” Wow, I knew she’d be jealous, but this was a bit much. When I saw the look on my mom’s face, however, I knew something was wrong.
“What is it?” I asked.
My wife smiled and said, “You left out the sugar.”
I couldn’t believe it. I tried it myself just to see how bad it really was, and I nearly gagged. In case you’ve ever wondered, sugarless pumpkin pie is disgusting.
Fortunately we had a back up. My wife pulled out her rejected pie, and even though it wasn’t picture perfect, it was absolutely delicious.
No surprise there. After all, there was a law of the universe at work that day that applies to both pies and people. It’s what’s on the inside that counts, or as God said it in 1 Samuel 16:7, “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (NLT).
You can be picture perfect on the outside, but if your heart’s not right, it won’t long take for people to figure it out. And, of course, the opposite is true, even on those days when you’re feeling a little burnt around the edges, a heart sweetened by the love of God is a delicious treat for anyone who comes near your table.
For more inspirational thoughts about fall, check out Tales from the Leaf Pile: a Holiday Road Devotional available October 2017. For updates on the Holiday Road devotional series and other books from Jason sign up here.