The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I enjoy one glorious connection; she loves to bake and I love to eat what she bakes.
I did not marry her because of her baking skills because I did not know she had them at the time. I did know her mother was a wonderful cook and I assumed there might be some gene transferred to her daughter.
If the truth were known, she loves to bake as much as I love to eat. Whenever there is a function in the church, she is always baking, especially cookies. Her cookies are the best I have ever eaten, and believe me, I have eaten a lot. So many that I have gotten into trouble several times.
My only response to her inquiries along this line is, “If you did make such delicious cookies I would not be tempted to eat them. So, it's all your fault.”
I have yet to sell that line to her, but I still try. Of course, if I could sell her this I could sell her anything. So much for trying.
I am not sure which cookie she bakes that I like the most. I usually say, “The cookie I like the most is the one I'm eating at the time.”
To which, she usually responds, “The trouble with that is, you never eat just one at a time.”
Okay. She's got me on that one. She usually does, so it's no big deal for me.
An incident happened recently that caught me by surprise. It was leading up to a special fellowship function in our church. These are great times of fellowship, especially around the dessert table. Don't get me wrong here. I do like fellowshipping with other people, but I like it best when we fellowship around some dessert. It does not matter the dessert.
I was working on a difficult project and was not thinking about anything outside of my work zone. I spent a day at home trying to catch up on some of the things I was doing and I happened to notice on top of the refrigerator was some freshly baked cookies.
Right here I would like to say that I did my very best to resist temptation. I am not a fan of Oscar Wilde, but I do like one quote of his. “I can resist anything except temptation.” When it comes to the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage's freshly baked cookies, that describes me to an afternoon tea.
Several times as I walked by the refrigerator, I could smell those wonderful cookies. To my credit, I resisted as much as I could, which according to my wife is not quite enough.
I walked by the cookies and took one. After all, I thought to myself, who's going to miss one cookie?
However, after eating that first cookie, I could not think of my work anymore and all I could think of was how delicious that cookie was. I thought to myself, “Isn't my wife one wonderful baker.” Then I smiled and tried to go back to my work at hand.
It worked for maybe three minutes, but then my thoughts wandered back to those freshly baked cookies on top of the refrigerator. “What's it going to hurt,” I said to myself, “if I get one more cookie?”
So, walking by the refrigerator I took one more cookie. After all, I thought to myself, if they were not so delicious, I would not want to eat them. That has to stand for something!
Soon I was engulfed in my work at hand and not paying attention to anything outside that realm. I got my work done. The only thing I remember is going out into the kitchen and sneaking just one more cookie.
It was then that the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came home. How fast time goes.
Then I heard it. “You did not eat these cookies on top of the refrigerator did you?”
By the tone of her voice, I knew I was in trouble. It is not that I have not been in trouble before. This one caught me completely off guard.
“Those cookies were for our fellowship this coming Sunday. What happened to them?”
“I couldn't resist those cookies and so I had just one.”
“If you had just one, where did the rest go?”
At this point, to come up with an explanation that would satisfy her inquiry was well beyond my pay grade.
I did not recall eating all those delicious cookies. Each cookie tasted better than the one before. I tried to explain, “Those were the best cookies in the whole wide world. The best cookies you have ever baked.”
She just gave me one of “those stares.”
After apologizing for my misdeed, I thought of a Scripture verse along this line.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it “(1 Corinthians 10:13).
The worst temptation is the one you think is not a temptation and one you can handle on your own. If it were not for temptations, I would not know how gracious God is in his forgiving power.