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I 'Googled' Pioneer, up came the lady who taught us how to boil an egg

For those of you who’ve never heard of the cook Delia Smith, she is a ‘British institution’ who is now 81 years old! So imagine my surprise when I googled ‘pioneer’ and up came a newspaper article about her new book, ‘You Matter’, published in March 2022. Delia wrote her last cookery book in 2009, but her latest offering is about a completely different subject from any of her previous writings. The TV cook who taught us how to boil an egg, and had previously written 21 cookery books, had her latest book turned down by six publishers. It was only with great persistence that she eventually finally found someone to publish it. The main theme is one of spirituality. But this isn’t a book review. What caught my imagination, was the pioneer spirit embodied in the writing of it!


Delia dared to do something completely new and different - from well known cook, to hitherto unknown philosopher – at the age of 81! You’re never too old, or young for that matter, to take the risk of being a pioneer! I so admire her willingness to forge a new path, especially when the initial publishers suggested that very few would want to read it! How easily we can be discouraged from a risk taking new adventure when we listen to Job like counsellors, but more often than not, our own negative inner voice. But not Delia! Nothing was going to stop her from getting the message published, and thus the book was released in March 2022. It is a characteristic of pioneers, that they refuse to stay in a safe place, and don’t want to just rest in past successes or be deterred by past failure, even if the new venture might fail!


‘By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.’ (Hebrews 11 v8)

Delia, like Abraham, exemplifies the truth that pioneers only set out because they have first heard a call. That call burned so hotly inside of her, that she knew that what she was carrying needed to be ‘out there’. Jesus came to put within a redeemed people, His burning passion for the salvation of humanity, and the transformation of His creation. May the fire of that mission with all its unique pioneering challenges in a chaotic world, burn ever brighter within us. ‘I’m writing to encourage you to fan into a flame and rekindle the fire of the spiritual gift within you…’ (2Timothy 1v6).


Delia uses an old and well honed skill – writing books - to craft something completely new. Many times we have heard the prophetic words aimed at the ekklesia (church): ‘new means new.’ Some think that means the past was a failure, or now irrelevant- not a bit of it! The ekklesia’s past, both as individuals and communities, has been an incredible journey of preparation and honing for this very moment we now find ourselves in. Yes, there are mistakes as well as successes, and we have seen many course corrections through moves of the Holy Spirit.

This verse is key for the onward journey telling us that the way forward will be a combination of old and new: ‘Every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things old and new’, (Matthew 13 v 52).


Delia is following a principal of life – change begins when you’re discontented with the status quo. She sees the world and humanity in chaos and wants to find a way forward into a different future. During Covid, I often heard a message of discontent expressed as,‘We don’t want to go back to church as it was.’; But since the lockdowns and various restrictions have come to an end, a dilemma hit us fairly and squarely in the choices we are making. We have a strong inner sense that there is a need for radical change in the way we understand church, but we also know it is biblical to gather with other believers. So the question has become: ‘Should I go back to where I was before Covid even if it doesn’t look like much has changed except we now do live streaming?’ Is your answer: ‘Yes, I’m going back; or ‘No, but where do I go?; or I haven’t made up my mind yet? However, let me suggest that you might be asking the wrong questions in the first place. Simply put: 'Why do I and many others have this deep seated sense that something radical needs to change ? What’s missing?’ What is it I don’t want to go back too? Answering those questions, could form the basis of a new pioneering journey.