A classic tale!

It was in the days when Bible Weeks were all the trend.  There we were with 100 people from our church, self catering and camping!  This in itself was a sacrifice for me to make, enjoying, as I do, the luxury of instant hot water and food, but that week I was to learn a lesson about how we so often take things for granted. 

Towards the end of the week all the guys decided it would be really good for all the wives to get together on the last night and cook a big meal for everyone in the group to share.  We thought this was a great idea – until we shared it with our wives and girlfriends.  They weren’t quite so convinced!  The plan was hastily re-adjusted and it was decided that on the last night we would put a big order in at the local takeaway.   I don’t know quite how, but I found myself given the job of going down to the only place that did any takeaway at all, which was the local fish and chip shop (a particular favourite in the UK), on a Friday night, with this massive order.  

By the time I reached the shop quite a queue had already formed so I entered the warmth and stood in line to await my turn.  When I finally reached the counter I got out my piece of paper and started to give out the order…  15 plaice and chips, 17 rock eel and chips, 9 cod and chips… and so on.  The chap serving me was the original ‘jolly friar’.  His face just lit up!  Unfortunately I can’t say the same was quite true for those in the queue behind me!  They became rather impatient as he started to get all this together.  

Eventually the order was ready and as I didn’t have any cash to pay the bill, I asked if it was OK to write out a cheque (no debit/credit card facilities back then!).  I got out my chequebook and put it on the silvery top – you know the ones… in the winter it’s quite nice to rest your hands on it.  With that, of course I put my cheque guarantee card on the top ready to verify the cheque.  I don’t quite know what happened but somebody must have nudged me from behind, because as I let go of the card it somehow flew over the counter into the boiling vat of fat. 

Not only did this poor guy have the stress of now dealing with an increasingly restless queue of people behind me (although this episode had released the tension somewhat!), and getting together this massive order, but now he had the added task of trying to fish my bank card out of his fat.  Now, if you’ve ever put a bank card into a vat of boiling fat you will know that it comes out somewhat differently from the way it went in.  Actually about ¾” wide, about 19½” (I exaggerate!) long; crinkle cut!  Literally!  I took it to my local bank and said, “Is this still valid?”  All the staff gathered round to look and asked “can we give it to our bank manger”.  Evidently they’d never seen a deep fried bank card before!  To my knowledge the bank manager has still got it on his wall! 

Our culture now is one in which we want everything instantly. That is the spirit of things in this age.  Fast food, instant credit, instant gratification!  The way God does things is completely different.  But he doesn’t do that as he takes us through changes and processes, moulds us and shapes us into what he wants us to become.

I’ve told this one all over the world and it still raises a chuckle when I relate it!