WARNING: The following might just be slightly satirical.
Earlier this year, when I was feeling too awful to do anything but lay on the couch and watch Netflix, my mother convinced me to check out The Great British Bake Off, or The Great British Baking Show as it’s known in the U.S. for legal reasons. I was expecting to gain ideas for the next time church potluck. I was not expecting to be confronted with so many scriptural truths! Here are five things we can take away from watching GBBO.
#1. Patience is a virtue. The Bake Off contestants don’t spend all their time slicing sponges and trying not to crystallize caramel. Much of what they do involves waiting: either for what is in the freezer, what is in the proving drawer, or an unexpected spill from one of their competitors. Jesus also spoke about the importance of waiting when it comes to baking. “He spoke another parable to them, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.’” (Matthew 13:33) That’s right! Even a little bit of leaven can cause a boatload of flour to rise, but you must be patient and let it do its work. Even so, we must wait upon the Spirit.
#2. The wrong ingredients can be deadly. In the first episode of series three of Bake Off, contestant John Whaite accidentally added salt to his recipe instead of sugar, making his bake nearly inedible. Just a little bit of the wrong ingredient can ruin an otherwise brilliant creation, as Jesus taught. “And the disciples came to the other side of the sea, but they had forgotten to bring any bread. And Jesus said to them, ‘Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:5-6) In this case, Jesus was suggesting that the incorrect teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees would end up having a negative impact on everything, even as leaven works its way through all the dough.
#3. It’s hard to bake under pressure. In every episode, Bake Off contestants are forced to endure a signature challenge, technical challenge, and showstopper challenge, all of which are timed. This causes a significant amount of stress. Just imagine how Abraham’s wife must have felt when she received the following directions! “So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, ‘Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes.’” (Genesis 18:6) Surely, if there is one thing we can learn from the Bake Off, it is that cakes take a lot of work! Perhaps Abraham could have been a bit more understanding. Even so, husbands today should be understanding of their wives.
#4. All of us must face judgment. Nothing sends a shiver of fear through the heart of a baker like the prospect of having one’s creation torn apart (both literally and metaphorically) by Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Even so, Christians know that our work will be subject to a final judgment. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10) Luckily for those of us who are in Christ, we will not be cast out of the heavenly baking tent, but even so, we must strive for excellence as much as those contestants. There are rewards at stake.
#5. Self–control is essential. On series four of the Bake Off, contestant Iain Watters did nothing to overturn stereotypes about the Irish (Northern or otherwise) when he threw an absolute fit in response to his Baked Alaska melting. Whether or not he was sabotaged by fellow contestant Diana, there is no question that Iain was not self-controlled in that moment. Scripture tells us that we must not behave in such a manner. “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.” (1 Corinthians 9:25a) Let us not suffer the fate of Iain, forced to present nothing but a rubbish bin for our efforts! Let us learn to keep our negative emotions in check through the power of the Spirit.
I hope you enjoyed this article, which was meant to be more humorous than serious. Not everything is the gospel, and not every article needs to be a list.
All scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright The Lockman Foundation.