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KEEP YOUR FORK

There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things "in order", she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible.

Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. "There's one more thing," she said excitedly. "What's that?" came the pastor's reply. "This is very important," the woman continued, "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."

The pastor stood looking at the woman no knowing what to say..."That surprises you, doesn't it? " the woman asked. "Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request", said the pastor. The woman explained. "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitable lean over and say, 'keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming... like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So, I just want people to see me there in the casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder 'What's with the fork?' Then I want you to tell them. 'Keep Your Fork'....'The best is yet to come.'"

The pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman goodbye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She knew that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the woman's casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over the pastor heard the question, "What's with the fork". And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.

So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently, that the best is yet to come.

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Only One Boy!
--Author Unknown

A Primary teacher went to her Bishop one day and with discouragement in her voice and on her face, said, "I'm not teaching Primary anymore." "Why not?" the Bishop asked. "Because it isn't worth the effort for just one boy. Last week I had only one boy, the week before just one boy, and again today I had only one boy."

Quickly, he told her to believe in that one boy. For all we know, there might be another Cromwell to dissolve Parliament, or another Beethoven to touch the world's heartstrings. Rather reluctantly, the teacher went back to work with that one boy. "I had only one boy today." The teacher's words set the Bishop to thinking. He recalled that somebody had said that history is filled with instances where just one vote, just one, had decided matter of tremendous importance.

Was it not by one vote that Aaron Burr missed being president of the United States? Was it not one vote that gave Texas to the Union and caused the war with Mexico? Was it not one vote that made California a part of the Union, and thus turned the tide of the empire westward? Was it not one vote that elected Oliver Cromwell to the famous Long Parliament--that sent Charles I to the scaffold and set Great Britain free? Was it not one vote in the electoral college in 1876 that decided who should be president of the United States? "I had only one boy today." The Bishop remembered that no learned society discovered America, but one man--Columbus. It was not a group of nations that rescued Scotland from her political and ecclesiastical enemies, but one man--John Knox.

The disgraceful nursing system was reformed not by cooperative clubs of interested women, but by one woman--Florence Nightingale. In the spring of 1820 it wasn't a group of learned men who went into the grove to seek God, but one boy--Joseph Smith.

"I had only one boy today." Only one--yet he matters just as the figure "1" matters on the face of the clock or watch--matters just as much as the figure "1" on the multiplication table--just as much as the letter "a" in the alphabet.

Someone has taught that one may be many. Andrew brought Simon Peter, just one man--but that one was also many, for Peter brought 3,000 to God in one sermon one day. "I had only one boy today." But what of him? He may be many.

THE CRACKED POT

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master's house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master's house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you." "Why?" asked the bearer. "What are you ashamed of?" "I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master's house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts," the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, "As we return to the master's house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path." Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, "Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you've watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master's table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house."

Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But if we will allow it, the Lord will use our flaws to grace His Father's table. In God's great economy, nothing goes to waste.

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This page last revised on June 14, 2002