28 May 2011
I have long been an avid reader of Webster's New World dictionary of the American language. My well-thumbed copy suggests I have done a lot of reading in it. It is the one book within easy reach of my study. Although I enjoy reading it, it does not have much of a plot.
Whenever I get the idea that I know many words, and people can be proud of stupid things like this, I pull down my dictionary and begin reading. Although I have read it many times before, I always run across an unfamiliar word. I cannot tell you how many words there are in my dictionary, but suffice to say there is a lot.
I am always interested in new words. I like to research the history of a new word, what it means and how to use it in conversation and writing. Then, like the egotistical fool I am, I like to mystify some of my friends by dropping this new word casually into the conversation whether it fits or not.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has a word for this, but I am not allowed to repeat it in polite company. Quite often, she will say, "You know what you can do with that new word, don't you?" I really don't, but I don't let on that I don't. It is not that I am at a loss for words; I just have a growing appreciation for life.
Of all the words in my vocabulary, only a few I refuse to use. In fact, some of them have been deleted and defriended from my memory.
The main word I refer to as the "B" word. It is absolutely anathema in my presence. Not only do I refrain from using it, but also I appreciate people around me not using it either. As far as I am concerned, it has no place in the English language.
All was going well until several weeks ago some friends of ours and my wife and I went out for dinner together. My wife and I do not often treat ourselves to a leisurely lunch where we can just enjoy fellowship.
We were seated at a very nice table and the waitress came around and took our drink orders. In the meantime, we set back, relaxed and prepared ourselves for a nice time together of dining and fellowship.
When two preachers get together there just is no way to stop them from talking until somebody says, "I think it's time to take up an offering." That is the key phrase for every pastor to be quiet. It is a well-established phrase in all pastors vocabulary.
It was not long before the waitress came back to take our meal order. Everybody ordered and then my turn came. All I really wanted was a nice roast beef and a salad. However, I needed to order a second side dish with my meal. I did not want anything else.
It was at this time that my wife spoke up. "Order a vegetable medley and I'll eat it." I am not too keen when it comes to vegetable dishes but I decided to go along with the plan. It is important to have a plan. More important is the one who makes up the plan. And since it was my wife, how could I refuse.
Having taken our order, the waitress whirled around and took our order back to the kitchen for preparation. We all went back to our delightful conversation. It is at times like this when I am not too concerned about how fast the meal comes out.
It was not long before the waitress returned with our meals in hand. She gave each one their plates and mine was last. Being too busy talking, I did not realize what she set before me. After all, I knew what I ordered. Then someone prayed.
When I opened my eyes and looked at my plate all I could do was gasp. The "B" word came leaping to my lips and it was all I could do to bite my tongue to keep from pronouncing it in public. When tragedy strikes it usually strikes out with me.
There on my plate next to my roast beef was the vegetable medley. Now, a vegetable medley can be many things. I never stopped to think or even to ask what the vegetable medley was all about. After all, I was not going to eat it.
There on my plate, in plain sight for everybody to see and sneer at, was a mixture of vegetables that included broccoli. The horrid "B" word. To make matters worse, as if they could get any worse, this vegetable medley was actually touching my roast beef.
All I can say is, that vegetable medley was not singing my song. My good wife came to my rescue and removed the entire vegetable medley. Who is the rational-challenged chef who dreamed up such a concoction of vegetables?
At that moment, I needed a word, but not from my dictionary. I needed a word from the Bible. "And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him" (Psalm 37:40 KJV).
Some words have a way of catching up with you, but God's Word has a delightful way of holding us up in the most difficult of times.
The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www.whatafellowship.com.
Rev. James L. Snyder