Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
President Harry Truman, who attributed it to his friend General Harry Vaughn, popularized this phrase. It is not limited to cooking, but rather a metaphor for any situation that creates challenge or “heat.” If you are not ready to take on a challenge, there is no sense pretending. Truman intended these words for his staff: if they were not up to the task, they had better resign.
Then Jesus told his disciples,
“If any want to become my followers,
let them deny themselves
and take up their cross and follow me.”
If Matthew has any point to make in his Gospel, it is that discipleship has its costs. It is important to note that Jesus describes the cross as something to be “picked up” rather than something to be given and received. In high school, I had a close friend whose father had been very abusive to his mother before his father left the family. She referred to this as her “cross to bear” - which I did not understand. I remember asking my own mother to explain it and not understanding any better after talking with her. Years later, I understood enough to disagree. The abuse that she received was not the cross to bear: taking up the cause to do something about it, was the cross to bear. For the mother, raising her two kids on her own the best she could was her cross to bear. All this resulted in the end of the marriage, an alcohol related death of the father, and a life of freedom and opportunity for her and her children. Literally, she stayed in the kitchen, withstood the heat and moved on to a fuller life.