More Than Frosting
by Joy Martin, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
Today I attended a cake auction. Zach was in charge of planning this year's event, which is an annual fund-raiser for our 8-year-old son's Cub Scout pack. For the past several days our house has been filled with cake-related activities, all in preparation for today.
Although I can bake, the cake artist in our family is my mother-in-law. And when I say artist, I’m not kidding. The woman can make anything out of frosting. Her creativity never ceases to amaze me.
This year, Clarice and Justice settled on a haunted camping scene. She baked a chocolate cake and created amazing decorations out of royal icing. She had a tent with a sleeping camper tucked inside, which was surrounded by several jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, and spiders. One ghost was even roasting a tiny marshmallow over the camp fire. It was nothing short of amazing. For obvious reasons, I am more than happy to have Clarice make the cake that Justice submits for the auction.
On Saturday evening, however, Zach decided he was worried that we wouldn’t have enough cakes to auction off. So, at the last possible minute, we decided to make a cake of our own to submit. We opted for a candy corn cake. I baked the cake and made the frosting, and when we were ready to cut out the candy corn shape and frost, I called in Zach as my reinforcement. He has his mother’s creative hand, so I left the hard work up to him.
As he began to cut the cake into the shape of a candy corn, I decided to nibble at the trimmings. I took a bite and sighed with disappointment–it was dry. It wasn’t horrible, and it was definitely edible, but it wasn’t great. I was disappointed, but there wasn’t time to bake another cake. So, Zach went ahead and finished cutting away the excess and then carefully frosted the candy corn’s broad white, orange, and yellow stripes. It was beautiful, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be the best cake that the buyers had ever indulged in. Of course, they wouldn’t know that until they had already been won over by its pretty decoration.
When I arrived at the cake auction today, I walked up and down the long table, admiring all of the amazing cakes that had been lovingly baked and decorated for the day. Some were elaborate, like Clarice’s haunted camp site, while others were simple, like one that was covered with nothing more than canned white frosting and sprinkles. And I found myself wondering what they were like on the inside. I knew that Clarice’s cake was good inside and out, and at the same time, I knew that mine looked pretty on the outside but left much to be desired on the inside. But what about the rest of them? What kind of cake was hiding? Was it moist and delicious, or was it dry and bland?
Pretty things can hide a multitude of flaws. Although today I was wondering about cakes, which are really meaningless in the scheme of things, the same principle can apply to things with much greater significance.
In Matthew 23:27-28, Jesus gives us a perfect example. He says, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
So my question to you today is this: Are you nothing more than a brightly frosted, dry cake or a whitewashed tomb? Or does your beauty go deeper? God calls us to live righteous lives. And it’s in fulfilling that calling that we find true beauty.