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A Fear of Whales

The head of our Inner-City Mission Project is named Gerry

Gerry is a great old man, very wise and very neurotic, a few months ago at a staff conference I sat down with him for breakfast.

“Where did you get Cholula?”

I’m pretty sure that’s the first thing I ever said to him. I was bemoaning the bland eggloaf thing they were serving for breakfast and was more than a little surprised to see my favorite sauce for eggs at the table. He didn’t answer the question, but looked at my name tag.

“Ryan, when you enter a room, you need to exegete your surroundings: Observe, Interpret, Apply. Otherwise you miss things in plain sight.”

“Are you saying the Cholula is in plain sight because I looked around and I-“

“You looked where you thought you should look, you did not observe. The Cholula is avaliable, there’s about 10 other condiments there too”

I looked around quizzically, I still did not see any condiment bar “And you noticed this the first day?”

“First meal, sure”

“Wow, did you think to tell anyone?”

“Would you like some?” he said finally passing the bottle to me. I took it, he continued

“You don’t tell people everything you know, you live that way, others will take notice. I wish Christian leaders could learn this.”

 

The rest of breakfast was consumed with conversation about philosophy and hot sauce. Gerry constantly borrowed analogies from evangelism and mission to describe the properly examined omelet. I took notes.

Gerry’s not at this camp, but when I needed something for my vegetable medley I remembered what he said, and carefully looked around the room. To my surprise I found Tabasco Sauce randomly hanging out in a little alcove at the salad bar.

I started eating my food with Tabasco at every meal, then other staff members joined in. I don’t think the camp was used to people actually knowing where to find the sauce because by the second week they had run out!

Now the trick is to do that with treasures besides hot sauce.

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