The people's voice of reason

God Has The Fried Chicken

I first heard the story years ago on Christian television when the author, Bob Benson of Nashville Christian music fame, told it. He called it the baloney sandwich story. And it's still a good one.

A man had to work half a day one Saturday and belatedly remembered the church picnic was that afternoon at City Park. Since he lived alone and didn't cook much, all he found in the refrigerator was a crinkled piece of baloney and just enough mustard in the bottom of the jar to get it all over his fingers as he fished it out with a knife. He put the sandwich in a paper bag and set off for the picnic.

A large crowd gathered that day for the festivities. Families joined in the three-legged race, the horseshoe toss and the traditional softball game.

Later in the afternoon it was time to eat. The man found himself at a table next to a family who'd brought a large picnic basket. As they unpacked the basket, he saw fried chicken, potato salad, homemade rolls, lemon meringue pie and what we Southerners call "sweet tea." (The late Grady Nutt used to call this syrupy stuff "40 weight tea"!).

So there the man sat all alone with his baloney sandwich. Sensing his plight, the family beckoned him to join their table. "Let's put our food together and share," they said. "Oh, no, I couldn't do that," he said.

But the family insisted there was plenty of fried chicken, potato salad and rolls.

"And our family just loves baloney sandwiches," they said.

And so the man sat there eating like a king when he came like a pauper.

I told this story to a friend years ago who had a different take. He began to use it to put pompous Christians in their place by saying, "Hush! God doesn't need your baloney--he has the fried chicken!"

But actually the story is best used to describe what the Christian life is all about. We come to Christ bringing what we have: hopes, dreams, failures and sin. God comes to the relationship bringing what he has and shares with us. And we're the better for this.

What does God bring to the table? He removes guilt by bringing forgiveness of sin. He gives a new family. We join other forgiven sinners--the church--who love and encourage us on our spiritual journey.

And he also brings eternal life. Our greatest fear is death, but Jesus is the pioneer of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He safely navigated the valley of the shadow of death and now promises to be our guide when death comes for us.


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