I’m standing at the dessert table in the fellowship hall at our church on a Wednesday night. The fried chicken and mac & cheese and green beans are in the rear view mirror. Now we get down to business.
There is an obstacle in my way. The dessert table is surrounded by a horde of young people. This holds a potential problem for me if I want a piece of brownie and ice cream. Young people at a dessert table are like the plague of locust on Egypt. They eat everything in sight.
This is how it goes. I always eye the dessert table first. If you’ve been to enough church fellowship meals you learn that this is the best strategy. There is a lot of love that goes into the chicken and meatloaf and casseroles that are prepared. All church women I have ever known put the heart of Jesus into everything they make for the pot luck. But they put the fire of the Holy Ghost into the desserts.
As an adult, I walk past the dessert table and mentally map out how my evening meal will end. Two scoops of banana pudding. One small slice of cherry pie. And one tiny square of that lemony crunchy thingy with powdered sugar on top. Of course, there is meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy to work through first, but who cares.
So I sit down with the plate full of manna from heaven. A few bites and I look up in the direction of the dessert table. It’s in my best interest to keep one eye on any developments against the far wall. No activity. A few more bites. I check on the table. Two teenagers are standing over the desserts, pushing and shoving around. I eat faster. Chunks of meatloaf are washed down with sweat tea.
Then it happens. Miss Annabelle pulls out a chair and sits down next to me. She wants to talk to me about an issue in the church that needs to be addressed forthwith before the Apocalypse burns the building down around us. I am the chairman of something, which makes her think that I’m the guy to talk to. I look once at the dessert table, trying to listen to her. Not much going on. I get caught up in helping her stand against the schemes of the Devil to destroy the Faithful.
Before I know it, an eternity has passed. I check on the dessert table again.
“Danger! Danger! Will Robinson. Danger!”
The locust plague is in progress. I shamelessly cut off the conversation and leave the last two bites of mashed potatoes on my plate. I run over two innocent children. Put a shoulder into a teenager who is a foot taller than Mt. Everest. But I’m too late. Nothing but crumbs. And I am a broken man.
I know what the solution is. I could get a plate of dessert first before I go for the chicken and beans. But this is backwards. It goes against my upbringing. I was scolded as a young boy for getting dessert first. I had a bowl of peach cobbler, which I love completely, and was made to put it back.
“What are doing with that cobbler?”
“I like cobbler.”
“Well, you put that back right now, young man.”
“But . . .”
“No buts. You wait your turn and fix you a plate of chicken and beans. Then you can have your peach cobbler.”
Kids were never allowed to go first. We waited on the adults. And we dang sure waited for dessert last.
So, I’m standing at the dessert table. Chicken and beans gone, like my Mama said. But there are teenagers blocking my approach. I move over to the back of the line. A small boy goes around the line and straight to the brownies. The preacher and his wife ignore the line. I call them on it. I take this dessert thing seriously.
“Thou shall not cut in line”, II Berean 14:7.
Tonight I am lucky. The line cleared. The Spirit of God moved across the face of the table. All was without form and void of any order. The brownie collided with the ice cream. Chopped pecans and caramel syrup formed over the expanse of the plate as it took shape in the Makers grand design. Whipped cream mounded up out of the sea. The redemption of Man was formed from the dust of dessert before him.
Man looked upon all that the Good Lord had done. He marveled at the miracle of Creation. He turned to walk back to his table. He stiff-armed a gangly teenager out of the way. He sat. He ate. And, thus, ended the fourth day. All was right with the world.
And he said, “It is good.”