Anita, 15, worked so hard her forehead dripped of sweat such that she had to wipe it off with her arm. She and her mother had been working at her church’s family center since 6:00 AM preparing then cooking pancakes and sausage. It had been Anita who insisted she participate in this activity to earn money to support the church’s food pantry for the poor in the city of Shawnee, Oklahoma. The food preparation had taken a frantic pace but the smell of pancakes, sausage, freshly brewed coffee and juice signaled that everything was just about ready.
Anita looked up at the clock. It was almost 10:00 AM. The church service would soon come to a close with a bevy of hungry people streaming into the auditorium any minute.
“Anita, will you please check to see if the coffee is ready, the juice out and syrup canister filled?” said her mother.
Anita left the griddle then walked over to check the three coffee makers. Something was not right. One of the three coffee makers was cold when she touched it. The switch indicated the coffee maker was on and the plug was in but nothing had happened. “Mom, this one hasn’t even started!” Anita shouted.
Frustrated by the news, her mother threw a towel against the wall near the three coffee makers. “Oh, my gosh! Maybe there is a bad connection in this electrical strip. Oh, well! Let’s take this coffee maker and put it in the kitchen and see what happens. Some people might have to wait for their coffee. I guess there’s nothing we can do but wait for it to finish.”
Seeing her pancakes were ready to be turned over, Anita forgot about the coffee maker problem. Before they knew it a crowd had formed on the floor of the auditorium. Anita concerned about having enough pancakes for everyone had to fight her urge to want to turn the pancakes before they were ready.
Suddenly a middle aged looking man burst in through a door holding an empty coffee cup. Where’s the coffee? It’s all gone! “ he stated in an angry tone of voice.
“I’m sorry, sir. We had a bad connection in our electrical strip so we don’t have enough at this time. Would you like some orange juice or hot tea? We’re very sorry.” said her mother.
“No, I want coffee!” he said angrily. “Two plugs on that electrical strip haven’t worked for months. You should have known that!”
“We know it now but we didn’t before,” her mother calmly stated to the man.
Finally the man struck the counter top mumbling as he left the kitchen. Anita turned angrily to her mother. “Mom, why should we take that? We’ve worked long and hard at trying to make this breakfast be a success. No one wanted to do this when we asked others for help. All we get is gripped out. People are so ungrateful. So many people in this church are insensitive, selfish and hopeless! See if they get me to work my fingers to the bone and do anything for these thankless people. Mom, I’m so sick of this!”
“That’s the sort of world we live in,” said an elderly man standing in line for his pancakes and sausage. “You have to get use to it. You’re not going to change people. Especially those people who give you their money. When they give you money, they have this belief you’re their servant.”
“I beg to differ with you, sir,” her mother said. “This is God’s world. The Lord is on His throne and is in control in spite of our grumbling, complaints and misgivings. We who call ourselves Christians should never quit because people are critical of our work, are mean, and always complaining (or seem to be so).”
No sooner than Anita’s mother finished her statement when a young woman with her two small children looked past an open door at Anita and her mother then said: “Best breakfast we’ve eaten. My kids want seconds! May we have some more. We’ll gladly pay for the seconds.”
Anita’s mom gave a slight nudge. “Certainly praise like her’s make life a little easier doesn’t it dear.”
Anita learned we should never let some people make Christians run away and hide because people are unpleasant toward us. Never back away. Christians—children, teens and adults should answer angry statements and insults with positive, Godly statements. As Christians, Christ expects us to step up and spread good cheer and leave the REAL work up to Him. Christ is in control!
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