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OUT TO PASTOR: Every dilemma has a silver blessing

For the last several weeks, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and myself have been enjoying some quiet time in our parsonage. I cannot remember the last time we had such quiet time all to ourselves.

One of the blessings of this time is the fact that telemarketers are not calling.

In a way, I miss them because I used to harass them as much as they were harassing me.

I did not know what a wonderful time it was until yesterday as my wife and I was enjoying our supper together. Usually, throughout the week, we spend quite a bit of time at a restaurant because of our schedule. It is not often that we can spend a whole week having our meals together.

Enjoying home-cooked meals is one of the great pleasures of being married to someone who knows how to cook. If the cooking were left up to me, it would be a completely different story. The truth is, it is not up to me and I say a grateful, hallelujah!

Some family members think I am a little bit postthin; at least that’s what they say. I respond by saying I'm not as fat as I could be, but I'm not as skinny as I once was. I do not know what that means; I just want to say something to take the attention off me.

If I am “post-thin,” I am not to blame. The blame goes squarely on the shoulders of the master cook in our domicile. If the meals were not as good as they are, I would not eat as much as I do.

Therefore, my condition is not my own doing. Do not ask my wife; she has a different perspective on this situation.

Experiencing this solitude has brought many blessings.

One blessing is the gas at the local gas station is $1.65 per gallon. It has been a long time since the gas has been that low.

Even though it's a blessing from a certain point of view, there is a negative aspect. Why is it that the gas is so cheap, but there is no place I can go? Why can it be that cheap when I have to take a trip somewhere?

So that blessing doesn’t really turn out to be a bona fide blessing, in my opinion. I know there are some bargains at local stores that are open, like Publix, but I am not a shopper, and at this time, I would stay as far away from that place as possible. That may be a blessing, but there is a downside to it.

As I was enjoying the home cook supper the other night, I began to appreciate what a wonderful cook my wife is. For the last several days, she has cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have eaten her breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a great deal of delight.

Although I understand the consequences of eating as much as I have been eating, the blessing of eating it at the time far outweighs the future. At least that’s what I’m saying now.

After supper that night, which was absolutely delicious, I had a very frightening thought. I am not sure I am over it yet.

The thought was that whenever we go out to eat at a local restaurant, I’m always the one who tips the waitress. I always make sure I am generous with my tip. My philosophy is simply this, the thing that stands between the kitchen and me is that waitress, and I better be able to trust her.

Now, the thought tumbling through my mind is, am I supposed to tip my wife for supper tonight?

It is not that I am not generous. It is that I do not know how to manage this tipping business at home.

And the reason is, I made a slip of the tongue right after supper that night when I said to my wife, “This is a $1 million meal for sure.”

How in the world do you tip a $1 million meal?

As I was ruminating this through my mind, my wife sat down in the living room with me and said, “Did you really mean it was a $1 million meal?”

Throughout life, I have learned one basic fact. If I don’t say what I think I can’t get into trouble. Am I in trouble now?

If I would sell all my assets, I know I could not come anywhere near the tip due for a $1 million meal. Not knowing what to do, I said with the most gracious smile I could paint on my face, “Yes, my dear. It certainly was a $1 million meal, in my opinion.”

“Well,” she said, “that complement is worth $1 million to me.”

I sighed a very deep sigh and realized I had actually tipped her more than I would tip the waitress at the restaurant. Life just can't get any better than that.

As we exchanged smiles, I couldn't help but think of something the apostle Paul said, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.” (Colossians 3:15).

I believe it’s true that you cannot put a price tag on a thankful spirit.

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-216-3025 or e-mail The church web site is

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