A certain situation has been building in the parsonage for the last several months. At first, I did not think it too serious but alas, we have reached a terrible impasse.

It started a few months ago when I came home, walked into the house and was hit in the face so hard I almost passed out. At the time, I was hoping I would pass out, but no such luck.

I was hit with the horrific smell of broccoli cooking. I do not know if you ever smelled such a smell as that, but if not prepared and even if you are, it can smack you in the face like you have never been smacked in the face before.

When I came to myself and gathered what little composure I could find, I queried the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage who was in the kitchen.

“What is that awful smell?”

“I don’t know, have you taken a shower yet?”

“No,” I said, gathering a little bit of manliness about me, “Something in this house smells dreadful. I smelled it as soon as I walked in the door.”

Then she chuckled. I hate it when she chuckles.

“Oh, that must be the wonderful aroma of broccoli cooking on the stove. Isn’t it marvelous?”

Hoping she would catch my attitude of disdain and disgust, I said, “You’re not cooking broccoli for supper tonight, are you?”

For whatever reason, she did not catch the drift.

“Yes,” she said as chipper as I have ever heard her chip, “I thought I would surprise you with a wonderful dish of broccoli for supper tonight, to go along with pork chops.”

“But I thought you knew I don’t like broccoli?”

“Oh, that,” she said with another chuckle, “I thought you were joking.”

Nobody jokes about broccoli, especially me.

Then a brilliant idea reverberated between my ears. I thought I could take advantage of this situation and sneak in something forbidden in our house for that matter, a rare delicacy.

“I will then run to the store and get some fresh Apple Fritters for our dessert.”

I figured if she wants to put in front of me broccoli the least she can do is allow me an Apple Fritter or two.

In a moment, all the chipper drained from her person, she looked at me and said, “Apple Fritters are not allowed in this house.”

“Let’s negotiate,” I said as calmly as I have ever been in my life. “I will allow you to eat broccoli tonight if you allow me an Apple Fritter for my dessert.”

“This is how we will negotiate, we will have broccoli tonight without any Apple Fritter. I am only thinking of your health.”

The way she glared at me, negotiations were off the table and in its place steaming broccoli.

If only we could act like grownups, come together, voice our differences and strike a compromise. After all, our government works that way.

I thought about this and came to a certain conclusion. The Christian life is not negotiating your preference but rather honoring Christ. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20 KJV).

When self is at the center of my negotiations, Christ is never honored.

Dr. James L. Snyder, pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, lives with the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage in Ocala, FL.

​sharon@bryantimes.com

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