I begin with a story I hope never reaches our Bread Ministry. A woman in Czechoslovakia lodged a complaint against a local bakery. After returning home from the bakery she cut into a loaf of bread and a fresh baked mouse fell out onto the table, sort of a perverted version of pigs-in-a-blanket. The bakery is facing a lawsuit, while the mouse was quoted as saying, “I apologize for all of the  anguish I have caused. I was a bit down on my luck and simply kneaded some dough.”

A woman in South Africa was leaving a diamond mine after her shift underground and was stopped at a border crossing. The guards noticed she looked “strangely fat.” I don’t know what that means. Maybe it was because even when she stood still her clothes moved. I may not be up on all the latest fashions but I do know that when a woman stands still her mouth will move but her clothes shouldn’t.

Upon closer inspection the guards noticed a bag of diamonds and three crocodiles strapped to her body. She was hoping the crocodiles would be a distraction and she could escape with the diamonds. She was arrested on the spot and charged with smuggling. The crocodiles were also arrested and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a miner.

A woman in Tennessee had fed a feral cat for several years. A feral cat is a cat that once was domesticated but because of various circumstances drifted into wildness, very similar to kindergarten teachers who have taught too long. One day she went to feed her and noticed the cat had her head stuck inside a jelly jar. The problem with a feral cat is that you cannot get close to them without being scratched and clawed, kind of like Democrats and Republicans.

The family tried to get close to her but to no avail. Finally, after a few days the cat was too weak to put up a fight and they were able to remove the jelly jar and give her some food. The cat was quoted as saying, “Mmmmff!! Mmmmff!! Mmmmff!!”  Once they got the jar off of her head she said, “I thought if I could  find a loaf of bread with a mouse in it and some peanut butter then I could get out of this jam.”

We may not be confronted with bad puns every day but we will be challenged in our efforts to be the kind of person God wants us to be. Sometimes we are like that feral cat and we stray away from our domestication. And what is domestication for a Christian but worship, prayer, and Bible study. When we stray away from that we revert to our old ways and sometimes find ourselves in a bad situation.

That’s the way it is with serving God. We want to do what is right but we try to hold on to some of our old ways at the same time. It’s like trying to pet a zebra with a crocodile strapped to our chest. We can’t do it. There’s too much conflict. God wants us to serve him with our new self and new attitude. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” (NIV) God has some new clothing for us . . . and it just seems to fit better when it doesn’t have to be worn over a jelly jar or a crocodile.

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