Keith Wishum: How is your pie?
Kent Crockett, in The 911 Handbook, tells of Carol, who wanted to do something nice for her new neighbor, Mrs. Smith. So, Carol baked a pie and took it over. When Mrs. Smith opened the door, she was quite surprised.
“Is that for me?” she trilled. “I can’t believe it! That is so nice. You just don’t know how much I appreciate this. Thank you!”
Because of the enthusiastic response, Carol decided the next week to bake Mrs. Smith another pie. When she delivered it, Mrs. Smith said, “Why thank you so much! You are just too kind!”
The next week, Carol delivered yet another pie, and Mrs. Smith said, “Thanks.”
The following week, when Carol took Mrs. Smith a freshly baked pie, she got, “You’re a day late with my pie!”
Carol tried once more the next week and Mrs. Smith said, “Try using more sugar. And, don’t bake it quite so long; the crust has been too hard lately.”
Carol quit. She was too busy to bake unappreciated pies. As she hurried out to the store a week later, she heard her neighbor call out, “Hey, Carol. Where’s my pie?”
Do you ever feel like somebody is keeping your pie? That they aren’t cooking it right? That nobody cares enough to treat you right? And no matter how much you point out to people what needs to be corrected, do you just get more of the same?
If so, the bad news is: Part of the problem may be you. The good news is: You can change the situation and be happy!
Mrs. Smith was not treated badly. In fact, she was treated exceptionally well. The problem was her outlook. She took her gifts for granted and thought instead only of the imperfections in her situation. She was unhappy, and she sucked the joy from Carol’s life, too.
God gives us some incredibly simple advice on how to be happy in an imperfect world: “Do everything without arguing or complaining” (Philippians 2:14). Everything? No complaining? I’m tempted to complain about that being too difficult!
But it’s possible. Command implies control. And it’s really not complicated if we just stop thinking we are entitled to anything. Health, money, smooth traffic — we deserve none of it. We deserve only death; everything else is extra. Even life is a gift. So, let’s quit complaining about the crust and enjoy our pie.
Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church of Christ, Americus.