It was in the fall of 1968. I was the brand new minister of a small rural church in Bethel, Kentucky. I was loving every minute of it. The Bethel Christian Church was in the heart of town and we averaged around seventy-five wonderful souls every Sunday morning in worship. It was all new for me. Living in rural America, serving country people, fishing in the small streams that crisscrossed the farms, growing my very first garden in life and all the other things that came with being on the farm in a rural church was a wonderful new adventure for me. One of the things I most enjoyed about ministry was visiting with people. I ran the rubber off of my tires going around to visit people. I visited people in my car, walking and even on horseback.
One afternoon I visited several people over on a road that was called “The Convict”. It was built by convict labor many years before so you see where it got its name from. As I turned back on State Route 11 at the end of the Convict, I decided to make one more visit and I parked in the yard of a nice little farm house just off Kentucky State Highway 11. I went on down to the barn to visit Mr. Emmitt Davis once I saw him out there. He and his wife had just butchered a hog and were putting up sausage. Good thing for me my tender city boy eyes hadn’t seen the butchering process, just the putting the sausage into the brown paper bags was messy enough for me.
After I chatted a bit I turned to leave and Mr. Emmitt said, “Here, take a bag of fresh sausage home with you Brother”. I wasn’t a big fan of sausage in the first place (of course I had never tasted fresh made sausage right off the farm either). “No, thank you very much, I don’t like sausage all that much”, I replied.
I drove on home and when Mary asked me where I had been I told her about the sausage that Mr. Emmitt offered me and what I said. Quick and clear came the reply, “You can get right back in the car and drive back and tell Mr. Emmitt your wife likes sausage just fine”. I did just that. I drove back and meekly informed him I hadn’t thought about my wife and she liked sausage a lot. He laughed and gave me a brown paper sack of fresh made sausage. I have to admit it tasted a whole lot different from what I had tasted before. It was a brown bag lesson for me I never forgot.
How often do we just think of ourselves in life. It honestly hadn’t occurred to me that Mary, the love of my life, might just like the bag of fresh sausage. Isn’t that the way it is all too often? We just don’t think about what others like, what others need, what might be a joy to someone else and get stuck on just our own likes, our own needs, our own feelings. I can’t help but laugh every time of think of how quickly Mary sent me back to get that fine little bag of fresh sausage and how it makes a good reminder to think of others and not just myself. How about you? Will you remember to think of others and how they feel, what they like and need and what their perspective might just be.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis