I’m cutting a red onion for a Greek salad, and my eyes burn like never before. I’m experiencing the sulfuric gas that creates a mild acid in my eyes. Chopping onions offers this unfortunate side effect that cooks do unusual things to avoid.
I’ve heard everything from chopping onions underwater to whistling so you direct the airflow away from your face. Some people freeze the onions first. Others chop onions near a steaming pot of hot water. Still others wear goggles.
If you want those onion slices, you need to deal with what comes with their use.
I know it’s probably the strangest comparison I’ve made in years, but I stood by my sink and thought of the unfortunate side effects that come when I’m used in some way.
When publishers call (Which they have!) or book sales keep on the rise (Which they are! Thank you!), I immediately feel the old temptations of self-importance and the allure of influence. I’m chopping that onion, and what rises up from its use burns. It doesn’t bless.
It’s not pleasing. It’s not good.
I think of the pleasing aroma that rises up to God with every sacrifice in scripture. I want my life and work to rise up like a pleasing aroma to God. As the onion’s gasses rise, I think about what it takes to transform them and manage them. Most experts use water to subdue those gases. They drench the onion in it. They submerge the onion it. They intercept every rising gas with it with.
Oh, the Living Water that takes whatever I offer and subdues the negative side effects that come, aided by the world, the flesh, and the devil. We are onions to be drenched in God’s word, submerged deeply into a life of confession and repentance, and intercepted with every use by God’s glory and not our own.
Otherwise, what we offer the world–what rises up from our life’s work–burns more than it blesses.