By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35
Hmmm…I said. I like to talk, and I guess it can be said I like to write. When I write I love to use words in special ways. One of those is playing words off one another—using the same word in the same sentence in a different way. I’ve found that I often bump into words that can dramatically change in meaning by changing just one letter. Here’s an example. First, we have the word dessert. Now this is one of my favorite words because of all the images that pop into my mind. In one corner of my brain, a picture of a perfectly prepared pecan pie appears. Over in another corner is my daughter’s apple crumb pie. Oh my, is that good! Wait, over there is my friend Maggie’s fried pecan pies. And then over there is the dessert display case at my favorite local restaurant. It is filled with pies, cakes, cookies and cream horns.
Well, now that we are all drooling you can almost taste the word dessert. Even if you are not a fan of sweets, surely it stirred your heart a little. Now we are going to change just one small letter. Are you ready? We are going to go from dessert to desert. Wait? What? Yup, just remove one of the “s” in the word and we go from sweets heaven to the Sahara. We go from visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads to sand…lots of sand. Now we are not thinking about pleasure but rather pain. There is not abundance…there is leanness. Just like the word dessert makes our mouth water…desert makes us thirsty. And it all happens with just one small letter.
What is true with words is also true about birds. I was reading the other day and it talked about two different kind of birds. Even though they are radically different, the bottom line is they are still both birds. Both defy gravity and fly and both have feathers. One is one (there’s that play on words) of the smallest birds in the world and the other is one of the larger ones. One is tiny and cute and the is large and ugly. One is a hummingbird and the other is a vulture. Both birds…but both miles apart…just like our words dessert and desert.
One of the ways the birds are different is their eating habits. The hummingbird spends it’s time zipping around our yard, going from feeder to feeder and flower to flower looking for “dessert.” Their diet consists of nothing but something sweet—nectar. The vulture, on the other hand, soars overhead. He could care less about something sweet—he is looking for his next meal too but his is a “desert” or to put it plainly…something dead. Both are birds, but both are entirely different. Their differences may seem big, but really they are not. You might say they are separated by a letter or two.
You know, that is true about us. We really aren’t that different and yet…we are. Each one of us is uniquely made by God. You might say we are each handcrafted by the Master craftsman of it all. An old children’s song that used to float around the Christian music world said, “Look all the world over, there’s no one like me…no one like me. Look all the world over, there’s no one exactly like me.” God made each one of us different…on purpose. What a boring world it would be if we were all the same.
Now my intention when I started writing this story was to say how in our world we should be more like the hummingbird and look for sweetness than the vulture who looks for death and decay. But as I wrote I realized the bigger truth is that we should just be who we are…and allow others to do the same. Skin color, economic status, music tastes, piercings and tats or not…we are all uniquely made. I wonder how much better the world would be if we learned to love one another. I mean after all, the biggest sign that a person is a Jesus follower is not if we go to church but if we love other people. How about that?
So the next time you are in a bakery…or your backyard…remember that we aren’t as different as we seem. Rather than judge and criticize, why not go ahead and see people as creations of God. After all,…the Bible does say He loved everybody enough to send His Son to die on a Roman cross…everybody. And if you happen to know that story…then be sure and spread it around. It is the best news ever. And while you’re chatting with that person, be sure and let them know that there is Someone who, no matter what, has it under control. Tell them that, “He’s got this…no matter what this or that is.” Bro. Dewayne