Which Are You? - Alan Simpson

As we go through the season of Lent, I cannot help but think about how Jesus had to persevere and overcome many obstacles. We can learn a lesson in how He overcame those obstacles. This reminds me of a story I would tell Scouts whenever they would come to a difficult time in their life and how they could persevere and come out even better.
 A young Scout went to his Scoutmaster one campout and told him about his life and how things were so hard for him. He did not know how he was going to make it and wanted to give up and quit. He was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

The Scoutmaster took him to the mess tent, filled three pots with water, and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first pot, he placed carrots, in the second one he placed eggs, and in the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil, without saying a word. In about twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then he ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to the Scout, he asked, "Tell me what you see." “Carrots, eggs, and coffee," the Scout replied. The Scoutmaster brought him closer and asked him to feel the carrots. He did and noted that they were soft. The Scoutmaster then asked the Scout to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, the Scout observed the hardboiled egg. Finally, the Scoutmaster asked the Scout to sip the coffee. The Scout smiled, as he tasted its rich aroma. The Scout then asked, "What does all of this mean?"

The Scoutmaster explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

Which are you?" he asked the Scout. "When adversity or hardship knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?" Ask yourself this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat and become hardened and stiff? Or am I like the coffee bean? The beans actually change the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of the coffee beans. If you are like the beans, when things are at their worst you change the situation around you.

So are you a carrot, egg, or coffee bean?

 "Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us." Romans 5:1-5 NRSV

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