At the beginning of the week, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage informed me that she and some of her friends would be going thrift store shopping on Thursday.
I nodded my head and smiled, not knowing where she was going with this.
“Now,” she said, “you will have to take care of your lunch. You think you can do that?”
I was smiling so hard on the inside I could hardly keep it from my face.
“Well,” I said as calmly as possible, “I think I can take care of it. No problem.”
That meant I could eat my lunch when I wanted to eat it. My wife is very strict with rules and regulations. Everything has to be done at a certain time and in a certain way.
Thursday morning, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage said, “Do you remember what’s going to happen today?”
Did I remember? How in the world could I ever forget?
I soberly looked at her and said, “If I remember, you and some of your friends are going thrift store shopping.”
She smiled and then said, “Are you sure you can get your own lunch?”
“I’ll be able to manage,” I said, still trying to hide the giggly smile inside.
I walked her to the door, waved very happily as she drove out of the driveway and disappeared into the sunset.
In my mind, I had prepared for this moment. I planned to go to McDonald’s and get a bunch of double cheeseburgers, French fries, and milkshakes to help me through the day.
Ah yes, McDonald’s has one of my favorite desserts, Apple Fritters. Although I’m not permitted to bring them home, today was different so I decided to get two Apple Fritters.
Just before lunch, I went to McDonald’s and purchased my luxurious lunch, including the Apple Fritters.
I was very excited to get home and indulge in a lunch which would not make my wife very happy. But since she isn’t here, and I’m not telling her, I’m going to have the time of my life for lunch. Especially those delicious Apple Fritters.
I got home and set up the table for my lunch, and began the process of enjoying.
I got to most of my lunch and approached that wonderful point of delving into a delicious Apple Fritter.
Laying those two Apple Fritters on my plate, I just enjoyed looking at the beauty of a perfect dessert.
Just as I went to pick one up, the telephone rang. That’s all I needed.
Answering the phone, the person on the other end introduced themselves and began their sales pitch on my auto warranty. My auto warranty, according to them, had run out, and this was their “last” call for me to renew this warranty.
I jumped in and politely said, “No, thank you. I don’t need your warranty.” Then I hung up the phone.
I took a deep breath and went back to the table and looked at my Apple Fritters, and reveled in the delightful experience of eating them. Then, just as I was ready to pick up the first one, the telephone rang again.
Very hesitantly, I got up and went to answer the phone. This time it was a recorded message about a warrant that has been issued for my arrest somewhere in Texas. So all I needed to do was push number 1.
I hung up very angrily and went back to the table, sat down and took a deep breath, and once again looked at those wonderful Apple Fritters.
Before I could even clear my mind, the telephone rang again. By this time, there was a swirl of anger bubbling up in my mind.
I answered the phone, someone introduced themselves and said they are sending me a diabetic machine according to my doctor. And, it was FREE.
Is it wrong to give someone a piece of your mind? And, which piece am I going to give this person?
Not dwelling on this very long, I just opened up and gave this person a piece of my mind that I have never used before. I was so tempted to say things that would be very inappropriate. I was expressing my anger as I have never expressed it before.
For someone to come between my Apple Fritter and me is a very dangerous place to be. So I explained to the person on the phone what a stupid idiot they were, as if they didn’t know already, and how I did not appreciate them calling me, particularly at this time of the day.
Then I heard the magical sound of “click.” He was no longer on the phone.
Sitting back at the table, I looked at my Apple Fritters, and as I took my first bite, I thought of a verse of Scripture that means a lot to me.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
There is a hymn that says, “Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin.” Temptations are there all the time, but God can give me the strength not to yield to them. I can’t control the temptation but I can the yielding part.
[Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, FL 34472, where he lives with his wife. Call him at 352-216-3025 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.]