The Boss of a factory prided himself in the heavy demands he made on his employees, and their ability to meet those demands. So he was less than pleased when, one day while walking through his factory, he noticed a young man leaning against a stack of boxes doing nothing. The areas Foreman wasn’t around, and apparently the man thought he could get away with a little unsupervised relaxation. The Boss watched in quiet irritation as the idle employee yawned, checked his watch, scratched his head, kicked at some dirt, and finally sat on the floor.
This was more than the Boss could take. He strode up to the young man and shouted, “You! How much do you make a week?” The young man replied $250.00. The Boss swooped into the cashier’s office, took $250.00 from the cash box, returned, and threw it at the young man. “Take it and get out!” he demanded. The young man took the money, and left without so much of a glimmer of shame crossing his face. “We don’t need the likes of him working here,” thought the Boss to himself.
Then he tracked down the Foreman. “You know that lazy bum in front of your office,” he said. “I just gave him a week’s pay and fired him. What’s the matter with you, letting him get away with such unproductive behavior?”
“You mean the kid in the red shirt?” asked the Foreman.
“Yeah! The kid in the red shirt!”
“He was waiting for the twenty dollars we owed him for lunch,” the Foreman said. “He works for the coffee shop around the corner.”
We may think we’re good at reading people, but it’s quite easy to make mistakes, and quite easy to get people wrong. In 1931 Charlie Chaplin entered a “Charles Chaplin Look-Alike Competition” in Monte Carlo. He only came in third. Apparently the judges weren’t quite the “Charlie Chaplin Experts” they thought they were. And sometimes we’re not the judge of character we think we are.
This is why snap judgments and first impressions, as essential as they sometimes are, can be misleading. And this is also why I am appreciative of the two free meals we’ve done as a congregation. Those two meals have given me an opportunity to meet people I never would have met, and get to know some folk a little better then I otherwise would have known them. The meals have opened doors into the community, not just for me, but also for our congregation.
When I see people of Maple Avenue working together to make these meals happen, when I see how generously this congregation has supported the program with donations, when I see people, in spite of their honest concerns, giving the ministry the benefit of the doubt, and when I see people from Maple Avenue actually sitting at tables with others from Daycare and the neighborhood, actually chatting and getting to know them, then I’m filled with a strong sense of pride. I do think we have a terrific congregation, and I just wanted to let you know what I think.
So a word of thanks to all who made donations and worked to make this happen. And a “thank you” to those who helped. And a thanks to those who came, ate, and mingled. This is much better than relying on snap judgements. We're really getting to know others, expanding the walls of our ministry, and carrying the light of Christ into the world.
Thanks for being part of this.
In God’s peace;