Perfect Stranger

I was watching Chopped last night with my husband. If you are not familiar with the show, it’s about four chefs that compete for $10,000. They have to cook something amazing out of the secret ingredients that are located in their basket. Each contestant has a short period of time to make these, often unrelated, items into something delectable. If their dish is not complete or doesn’t taste good, they are chopped. They have three rounds. The first is the appetizer round, then comes the entree round and they finish with the dessert round. After each round a contestant leaves until you are left with the Chopped champion. This chef wins the $10,000 as well as bragging rights.

Last night’s episode brought back former contestants that had lost. Since they had been there before, they knew how intense it would be and it made for a more challenging and exciting show. The chef that stood out to me last night was a Christian. On both occasions that he appeared he has been very vocal about his faith. Throughout the show he continually shares his strategy which includes prayer and depending on God for guidance. The last round of the show is made up of the two remaining chefs competing to make the better dessert. The Christian was up against a French woman. She really wanted to win the money so she could take a trip to visit her ailing grandmother. Her grandmother had raised her and inspired her to cook and encouraged her to never, ever give up. And this chef was desperate to see her grandmother before she died. As much as I liked the Christian guy, after all he is family; my heart really went out to the other chef. She was emotional and it was obvious this was something she really, really wanted.

When the final decision came, the Christian chef won. He won it all and was frankly surprised. He thought for sure his opponent would win. So when she was chopped, they were both stunned. The thing that I loved about this guy was that he wouldn’t just let her leave like the other contestants. He called her back and was honest about his surprise about winning. He really didn’t expect to win. Because he knows God, he decided that he would use his winnings to pay for the other chef to visit her grandmother. They were strangers before the show started and only spent the day together fighting for the championship. And in the end, when he had won it all, he chose to share. He chose to give her what she so desperately desired. He decided that her needs were bigger than his. It was so inspiring. I sat there with chills. He was so very gracious to a woman that was a virtual stranger. Of course she was overwhelmed and thankful.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

It’s one thing to say you follow Christ. It’s another to actually prove it. This man proved that he thought very highly of this woman. He realized that if God allowed him to win, there was a purpose in it. Honestly, I was rooting for the girl so she could go and see her dying grandmother but when I saw how God worked it out, I think He had a better plan. That woman’s life is forever changed. The generosity of her opponent introduced her to a God that she may never have met before. She may or may not know Christ but I bet she will never forget what this man did for her for Christ’s sake.

Once again I am reminded that we are not here just to live life. Each and every day offers opportunity to point others to God. We live in a selfish world. It’s a cruel and angry world. And when we take the time to put someone else above ourselves, it stands out. It goes against the norm. It points others to Christ. That’s what this man did. I don’t remember his name. I probably never will. But I can promise you that I will never forget the grace and love he showed to a perfect stranger.


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