Like Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, Let's Write Our Own Recipes for Life

By Marjorie Foerster Eddington

You can make a difference by writing out Recipes for Life!

  • Decide what Recipe you’re writing -- for success, relationships, sports, summer camps, excelling at school, being a strong athlete, making friends, being happy, having harmony at home, etc.
  • Decide what key ingredients (God-given qualities) are needed for success.
  • Decide how much you need of each God-given quality/ingredient. Some of the ingredients may be the same, but the amounts may change. They will vary with the situation.
  • This is a great activity if you’re a camp counselor (or a camper). You can have your campers write out their recipes for being good campers, for getting along with everyone, for having a fun summer, etc.
    • You can take a walk as a cabin and then read them.
    • Share them by your campfire.
    • Write a recipe for each of the different activities you’re doing -- swimming, horseback riding, waterskiing, soccer, etc.
  • Send recipes into BibleWise!

Below are background information and Biblical examples to help you get started.

Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi were all prophets who helped the children of Israel get back to God near the end of the Babylonian captivity. These three books close the Old Testament and pave the way for the New. Each prophet talked about specific qualities the people needed to express in order to do God's work. They gave them what we could call "Recipes for Life." Each recipe is a little different because each situation was a little different.

What's so awesome about these three prophets is that their words and ideas are still helpful today.

  • Sometimes we may think we’re really bored with Sunday school and think it’s not important.
  • Or, we haven’t heard God’s voice recently because we’ve stopped listening.
  • Or we’re struggling to get back to being the really good person we used to be.
  • Or we’re trying to figure out who we really are or how to excel.
  • Or we’ve forgotten to be grateful for all that God has done and is doing for us.
  • Or we really want to be a better windsurfer and are having trouble.

Haggai's recipe serves as an example. It has amounts and instructions. For the other two, you can decide what amounts of the God-given qualities are necessary for success.

Haggai's purpose as a prophet was to get his people to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, which the Babylonians had destroyed. Below is a recipe based on the qualities he emphasized as necessary:

Recipe for Rebuilding What's Important

  • 2 cups Self-examination
  • 1 cup Initiative
  • 1 Tbs. of Timeliness
  • 1 ½ cup Sense of Purpose
  • Mix until smooth and strong
  • Add 2 ¼ cups Dedication to Church
  • 4 cups Generosity
  • 3 heaping Tbs. Boldness
  • Don't be stingy on any ingredients
  • Work Hard with Full Effort and Enthusiasm until mixture can stand on its own and withstand change
  • Purify baking dish
  • Grease with Real Devotion to God
  • Pour in mixture fully aware of how you are Honoring God and how God is blessing you
  • Baking temperature: Warmth of Love
  • Baking time: However long it takes
  • Share with your neighbors

In addition to helping the people rebuild the temple, the prophet Zechariah also helped the people in "recovering the magnificence from a degrading exile," explains Eugene Peterson in his introduction to Zechariah (The Message). He helped them regain their strong sense of identity as a people devoted to doing God's work. Here are Zechariah's key ingredients:

Ingredients for Recovering Identity as God's Child

  • Kindness
  • Brotherly Love
  • Compassion for Each Other
  • Helpfulness
  • Awareness of Others' Needs
  • Consideration
  • Honesty in Words and Deeds
  • Fairness
  • Integrity
  • Moral Courage
  • Simplicity
  • Praise to God
  • Hope

Make sure you use these ingredients to reach out to those who are less fortunate than you in any way

Malachi, another prophet, wanted to help his people put God at the center of their lives. They had taken God for granted and had forgotten all He had done for them, especially since they were in captivity. But if they didn't turn their lives around, they wouldn't be able to meet a challenge if there were suddenly a crisis. Plus, they would miss the good that was coming to them if they weren't aware. Both he and Zachariah make prophecies about the Messiah, and a lot of people weren't prepared. Let's make sure we are open to receiving all the blessings God has for us.

Ingredients for Receiving Blessings

  • Recognition of the Proofs of God's Love for Us
  • Humility
  • Genuine Worship (not just religious "show")
  • Obedient Listening
  • Honor of God
  • Openness to God's Demands
  • Willingness
  • Obedience
  • Gratitude
  • Honesty
  • Generosity
  • Fidelity (particularly to your spouse, but fidelity is also important in friendships)
  • Faithfulness
  • Trust in God

If you want to see if these ingredients bring blessings, feel free to test them out According to Malachi, God has told us:

Test me in this and see if I don't open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. (The Message, Mal. 3:10)

When we first learn to cook, we usually follow recipes really closely. The more we know, the more we experiment with different measurements and ingredients. But there's one thing that's constant: we look at a recipe for what we want to cook. We don't pull out a recipe for chocolate orange mousse if we want to make an apricot cobbler. For awhile, the people either had been ignoring the recipes for a blessed life that God had given them, or they had changed the recipes to such an extent that they were unrecognizable, unprofitable, and inedible. As a result, they were going down hill. They needed to go back to the basics.

As we write our recipes and follow them, we can start with the basics – the fundamental truths and qualities God has given us to make our lives successful and happy. Then, the more we learn of God and the more we learn of ourselves, the more we can add to our recipes, and the more we're able to do as God's children. Happy thinking and writing!

It would be wonderful if you'd send in your recipes to BibleWise with your names, ages or grade in school, and city/state where you live. We'd love to post them on the site.