Oftentimes the best things are also the simplest. Take a basic pan sauce, for instance. It starts with nothing more than a few scraps of meat and fat in the bottom of a pan, but add some beef stock, wine, butter, and aromatic herbs, give it time to simmer, and voilà—you have an intensely flavorful reduction.
The French call it fond, a word that means “base” or “bottom,” and that is precisely what it is. To create this culinary triumph, nonessential components must vanish, carried away on clouds of steam. What remains is the highly concentrated essence of the dish, food stripped down to its fundamental flavors.
Faith is that way, too. But like novice cooks who toss ingredients in by the handful, we think more is better.
So we pile on the rules and requirements, adding one after another until belief—something that should be pure—becomes cloying and unpalatable. However, when we remove the ornate complications of religious ceremony, trim off the fat of legalism, boil away watered-down dogma, and toss out the stale, tasteless demands of social conformity, we are left with fond—the foundation of our faith.
And it is rich, delicious, and nourishing.
Though God is unknowable and His ways mysterious, one thing is sure. He removed the heavy yoke from our shoulders and replaced it with a simple faith. (See Gal. 5:1 and Matt. 11:28-30.) Many scriptures make this apparent, none more so than Micah 6:8: “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
In 31 words, each of them unpretentious and straightforward, the prophet articulates what the Christian life looks like. And when we operate from this place of simplicity, our lives are reduced to perfection. Now that’s something to savor.