44 “For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. ~ Luke 6:44 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash
I’ve had so much success these past two weeks writing about store-brand foods that I just had to write one more before I switch to another topic. Spencer and Madeline were home from University of Georgia the other day, where he is teaching school and she is finishing a Master’s degree in social work. They spent Friday night with us, and then we enjoyed a leisurely Saturday morning.
I’m really enjoying having grown children because it’s so evident to me how much they all love me. I mean, every one of them is so good to me — and it’s almost like when they’re looking at me I can see valentine hearts coming out of their eyes. Nevertheless, I sometimes get the feeling they’re “humoring” me a bit, the way you do when you’re dealing with a cranky elderly person. Clearly, they truly have love for me. But for my generic brand options? Maybe not so much.
About noon on that sunny Saturday, I found my new bag of “Always Save Brand Barbecue Potato Chips” in the kitchen pantry. These are my favorite. I buy another bag every time we run out. When we all sat down at the table for lunch, I began extolling the virtues of my generic chips, insisting that they are clearly a premium brand of potato chips dispensed in a plain, perfunctory sack. All those present at the table politely smiled and slightly nodded their heads. They were being nice. But clearly they thought I had rocks in my head.
I opened the bag and offered them around the table. Everyone said they wouldn’t care for any. They made up a variety of unconvincing excuses. I persisted, but they persisted, too. Finally I did something I almost never do. I decided to “pull rank” on everybody at the table.
I said, “Look. I am the father in the family, and that means I’m the head of the house. So, because of that, everybody has to eat a potato chip.” Reluctantly, and only to please the aging pastor who’s entering his dotage, everybody ate a chip.
My wife Susan was the first one to speak up. “John, these are really good. They really are barbecue-chip-perfection. They must be repackaged Lay’s Potato Chips. You can’t eat just one.” Spencer and Madeline didn’t make any formal pronouncement, but they each began to eat handfuls of chips, too. They were so delicious that we all ate the rest of the chips with lunch. (Actually, we sort of ate the rest of the chips INSTEAD of lunch. Sometimes barbecue potato chips are just that irresistible.)
There’s a profound life lesson here. When it comes to store-brand foods, people might not believe the words on the ugly yellow bag, but they can’t argue with the deliciousness of the potato chips.
And, in life, people don’t always believe what you say, but they can never deny what you are and what you do.
Be something great this week. And do something good.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 30 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school, where he used to teach Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where springtime is beautiful this year.) Their kids include Spencer (age 25), his wife Madeline (age 24), and Seth (age 21). You can send him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.