It was an amazing sight. Red liquid cascaded from one level to the next, shimmering in the light. If it had been an ornate fountain at a five-star hotel it would have been beautiful. Instead, it was my refrigerator.
The red liquid was not a colorful fountain, but red Jell-o that oozed its way into every nook and cranny of the appliance. A sticky mess now faced me.
I wished I hadn’t lectured the kids that morning about cleaning up after themselves. They looked on, wondering if I would do as I said. To add to my dilemma, I knew if I mopped up we would be late for church.
They didn’t hear the struggle within me. Strange sense of humor you have, Lord. Bad timing at best. Can’t I just teach my kids a lesson without having to live it? Would you rather have me clean this up or get to church on time? And to top it all off, I’m the pastor!
“Pick up a rag and get to it.” It wasn’t an audible voice, or a burning bush experience. Something inside just told me that it was the thing to do.
The next 30 minutes were spent on my knees. Not in deep, soul-searching prayer. They were spent taking every item out of the fridge and cleaning it. Every shelf needed to be taken apart. The Jell-O even got into the hinges. What a mess!
The thrill of watching dad having to clean up after himself wore off quickly. My kids made their way to another part of the house to await our departure. But I know they noticed. They learned something that morning, and so did I.
As a parent I am watched by my family. Do I complete what I request of my kids? Will I get upset over spilled milk? Do my time requirements get used as a cop-out for making exceptions to our house rules? How will I react to an unexpected puddle of Jell-o on the kitchen floor?
It’s all a part of the teaching process related in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. We teach as we sit at home, as we drive in the car, and as we walk through life. We’re called to teach on the fly. We teach in the good and in the bad. Our example puts flesh on the bones of our faith. The flowing red cascade of Jell-o in the fridge only served to test if it was real.