If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you.” James 1:5b
They were laying there taking a bath in rich, brown gravy. Well, we had to make a trip to the South when my brother died. He lived where I was raised, Jacksonville, Florida and was laid to rest next to our Daddy and Momma. Well, if you know anything about Florida, you know that sitting right north is Georgia and you know the quickest way to Florida, and Disney World, is down Interstate 75. Finally, and we are going somewhere…no pun intended…if you go down Interstate 75 to Florida you must go through Valdosta, Georgia.
As I understand it, there are only two Valdosta’s in the whole world…one in Georgia and one in Italy. Well, Judy was raised in the one in Georgia and that is where we were married so I think you could say that Valdosta is kinda home for us. Well, we are big fans of southern cooking and there is a place in Valdosta called the Old Time Country Buffet and it has become a favorite of ours. So, a couple from our church was visiting in South Florida and we managed to meet them on our way to Jacksonville in Valdosta. They were offering a free lunch and a hug—both sounded really good.
So, we met at the buffet and before long I was introducing them to everything from cream corn to collards to fried chicken. As I circled the buffet, I saw something that looked good…real good. It was a pan full of rich brown gravy and swimming in the gravy were thick slices of beef. I had to have some. I stabbed a couple of pieces of beef, spooned up some gravy, both for the meat and my mashed potatoes and moved on. Things were good and they were about to be better…or so I thought.
I got back to the table, showed my plate to my friends and dove in. One of the first stops on the grand tour of my “heaped high” plate was the beef and gravy. It was tender and looked delicious and without hesitation I took a nice, big bite. Well, immediately I thought to myself, “Hmmm, maybe beef with gravy isn’t their specialty.” It had a twang to it that I thought tasted familiar. I couldn’t quite identify it, so I took another bite and it just wasn’t good…and then I remembered. That strange twang was not beef…it was liver…beef liver.
There are only a few things in the food world that I don’t like, but liver is definitely one of them. Yuck. Gross. I realized I had been tricked…fooled…betrayed. Well, needless to say, that was the end of the liver. I always try to clean my plate…usually motivated by the memory of starving kids in Africa…but this was one time the liver was heading to the trash. Not even guilt could force me to eat this beef wanna be.
I told the people at the table how I thought it was one thing and it turned out to be something else and now…I am telling you. It may have looked like beef but all the looks in the world wasn’t gonna change its true identity…its true taste. There was probably a sign that properly identified this “sheep in wolves clothing” but my eyes were on the pool of gravy and not the little sign.
Now I know and you know that this doesn’t just happen at buffets. The truth is our world is filled with things that seem to be one thing and in fact are something totally different. Now if we take the time and look closely, hints of truth are usually all around but we too often see what we want see. What we need to see is the truth. So, the next time you are tempted to take the plunge, be sure and know what you are diving into. Before you throw away a marriage and family, before you toss out your character, before you take a swim in the pool of regret…take the time to evaluate and count the cost.
Jesus said one time that it is foolish for a man to start building a tower before counting the cost. After all, think how foolish he would look if he started it and couldn’t finish it…sorta like stabbing beef and getting liver. James, the half-brother of Jesus, said that if we lack wisdom, all we need to do is ask God and He will gladly give us what we need. Beef or liver—your choice but remember this—even when we mess up God will be there to help us. He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne