Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Hot Tater

During high school I worked as a bus boy at Rafaele's Arbor. JT was the head waiter and his unofficial role was to give everybody nicknames. My first day on the job I was holding a bunch of spoons as he walked by. From that moment I was called "Spoons" until the place burned down in a fire. JT went to work for my dad as a bartender when my parents opened "Mulligans".

JT was always playing little games with the bus boys. His favorite game was to grab a potato wrapped in aluminum foil and toss it at one of us. He would yell out, "hot tater"! If you didn't toss it back right away, you got burned.

Rafaele's Arbor has been gone for thirty five years but those hot taters keep coming my way. If I hold on to them, I get burned. Most of the time I don't see the hot taters coming until the last moment. I have learned not to throw the hot taters back at the people who toss them at me. That only leads to a hot tater war.

My hot taters have taken on many forms. The biggest taters are grudges. It is amazing that I never ended up in the hospital from 3rd degree burns from these grudges. How could I be so stubborn? What did I gain by holding these scalding taters? There were times when some people asked for their hot taters back and I chose to cling to them instead.

So, where is a good place to get rid of these hot taters? There is a secret hiding place that very few people know about. It is a small room that I hadn't seen since I was in my bus boy days in high school. When I go to this room, I bring all my hot taters. There are always two people in the room waiting for me. One of them is the guy who asks me how many taters I want to get rid of. The other guy is invisible, but He is the one who offers to take my taters, no matter how many. In my church, this tater exchange is called confession.

Some churches don't have a middle man like mine but it really doesn't matter. It just helps me to know that the invisible guy is there. The important lesson is to get rid of the hot taters before they burn you. You can close your eyes right now and ask Jesus to take all your hot taters.

I don't know how Jesus does it, but He can handle all our hot taters. Somehow, He turns them into the Bread of Life for the world. I can't wait for his birthday or for Him to come back. Until that day, I promise to keep writing about all the good He is doing in my life every day. I have a couple more hot taters to unload before I celebrate His birthday. Have a great weekend!

Martin Luther King, JR:

"We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."

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