04 March 2020

What Does It Matter? ~ Condiments and Toppings

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I was a children’s pastor, we held a quarterly Ice Cream Sundae buffet after church to raise funds for special events for the kids.  We would lay out all the acceptable toppings for ice cream, syrups, and whipped cream.

We would serve about two hundred adults and I would get to move back and forth along the toppings table greeting our “customers”.   What always caught my attention was the banter over which toppings were “proper” for ice cream.  I also learned that ice cream is the great equalizer when it comes to adults. 

I watched proper deacons squabble over pineapple versus strawberry toppings.  The walnuts and pecans were the sources of contention between the matrons in the ladies’ auxiliary.  There was even a couple who actually got into a shouting match once.  It seems that they were heatedly in conflict over the idea of a sundae having chocolate ice cream at all.

My perspective was that people were elevating simple choices to a level that caused conflict.  An event that was supposed to be joyful and child-like was turned into pockets of prideful preference.  The thing that wore on my heart the most was that they were arguing about something that did not impact them in any real way.  You see, they did not have to eat the toppings over which they were squabbling.  Their objections were to the preferences of others.

I am guilty of this.  That does not preclude me from seeing the foolishness of it.  It is similar to the conflicts over ketchup on hot dogs or pineapple on pizza.  It is like criticizing the color of another person’s car. I do not have to drive it, so it is none of my concern. 

We take this even further, Dear Reader.   We demand that others think like we do in many ways.  We judge others for not doing so and condemn them when they disagree.  We do not accept it when others do this to us, making us hypocrites as well.  We are willing to let others live in freedom if they choose to live like us.

The things that do not matter, when fueled by pride, cause us to turn them into things that do.  We deny others their preferences in areas that are actually opportunities to rejoice in our differences.  I have discovered some of my favorite things by experiencing them with those who knew them best. 

I must not judge the preferences of others.  I must see each difference as a facet of their uniqueness.  In that, I must learn to love them for the solitary place they hold in all of the universe.  When I focus on this, I can find the beauty that resides in each soul.  No matter their preferences in things that do not matter, I can find ways to love and learn if I am gracious and kind.  Please, however, do not ask me to try anchovies on my ice cream.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a homeowner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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