Points to Ponder: If I Perish, I Perish

Points to Ponder
If I Perish, I Perish

My first job was in a restaurant scooping ice cream. The manager was former military, so he set certain standards of service, appearance, cleanliness of the store, and quality control. One time, in an effort to make us understand the crew's responsibility for cost control, he took a half-full clear trash bag from one of the bins under a counter and pinned it to the bulletin board. Through the bag we could see unused creamers, sweetner packets, and other items that had been carelessly discarded. It was also common practice for a shift manager to take a sundae one of us had just scooped, saying,"Scoop another one." He would then weigh it to see if it was too heavy. Multiple cones and sundaes with just a half ounce more than the recipe required would add up to serious food cost averages.
So we were drilled on standards and procedures, and cost control, and being conscious of time-space management (getting the most accomplished in the fewest number of stops). It was good, challenging training. We became a team that functioned like a well-oiled machine; so much so that the evening rush was exhilarating and even fun. Why? Because we were good. The challenge tested and sharpened our skills and built our confidence, individually and as a team.
One day, the district manager made a surprise visit to inspect the store. He was a straight-laced serious character. He wore a tie, so you know he meant business. Most of us were 18 to 20 years old, in our first or second job, and easily intimidated by management guys who had one of those "if looks could kill" kind of faces.
There he was, the tie guy, scrutinizing our work and checking our shop. He lined up about four of us, and asked each one to scoop a cone. He began with our shift supervisor, who was the best, fastest, and most accurate in every area of production. A company man, he was so good, and lightning fast at scooping sundaes and cones, it was scary. He knew it too, and was kind of proud of his superior abilities. But that day, when he was told by Mr. Tie Guy to scoop a cone, I watched him do it with uncharacteristic caution. He handed it to the man, who put it on the scale. The verdict: it was underweight.
Others did their scoop and handed it over. "Is it over or under?" the district manager would ask. The crew person would guess and then he'd weigh it. If they were wrong, a buzzer went off and they disappeared through the floor. (Nah, just kidding.)
When my turn came, I don't know what I was thinking. I handed him my cone of ice cream. He asked, "How much over is it?" I replied (to both my surprise and his), "It's not. It's right on." I didn't really know, but I'd done it right before, so why not now? And as Queen Esther boldly declared "If I perish, I perish" (Esther 4:16). Right on! Permission to breathe again was granted, and I went back to work.
Why was the ace scooper cautious? Why did I, the green horn, take the risk? In the greater scheme of things, there was no trap door that took us out if we failed the test. Funny, what we fear.
I see in children a desire and a pure joy in taking the risk to try a new skill. They fall but then get back up because it's worth another shot. But with age and experience, do you find it's easier and less painful to play it safe? When opportunities to expand your horizons, to do something only God could empower you to do, do you look back at your scars or look up to the stars? Sit down or step up?
Survive or thrive? What are you praying for right now?
How often, when praying for your self do you focus on lacks and shortcomings? Rarely, it seems, do we boldly believe that the Lord can use us - despite our shortcomings - to do incredible things for His glory. Do we even believe He can? Our God can conquer a cancer, or heal a limb, but He can't do much with me?
Imagine Paul's prayer for the Ephesians being answered in you:
"...to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:19).
Imagine what you could do if you were filled with all the fullness of God. Well actually, you really can't imagine it - what God could do and would do in us and through us is bigger than our minds can contain.
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,..." (Ephesians 3:20).
The power that works in us is rarely maximized but often minimized because we aspire to so little. Is your (concept of) God too small? Suppose you let Him have you? Of course;, you can't do it. Are you hesitant because you know He can?
"You do not have because you do not ask." (James 4:2)

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship of Clear Spring, MD. These articles are also found at www.HilltopChristianFellowship.com.