Friday, July 5, 2002

Missing Ingredients

by Blake Cromwell

During the 70’s I worked in a home for teens. Once a week the boys’ home would have dinner together with the girls’ home. It was always a fun filled time with laughter and smiles.

One night we celebrated the birthday of one of the boys. One of the girls from the girls’ home who had a crush on the birthday boy made him a cake. It was her first attempt at baking a cake and she labored diligently to impress her potential boyfriend.

When she rounded the corner that evening the 16 candles illuminated the dark chocolate cake and all of our mouths began to water in anticipation. As she portioned out the cake piece by beautiful chocolate piece, we couldn’t wait to taste this marvel. In unison we slid the first fork-full into our mouths and instantly knew something was wrong. The cake was tasteless. Something — sugar, salt, eggs — something had been forgotten.

She was embarrassed, we were disappointed, and the potential courtship was over. And all because she had missed one ingredient.

One ingredient can make or break a family just like it can make or break a cake. I meet with people often in the midst of crisis. Many times they are struggling with their kids because they’ve left out one important ingredient from the recipe for raising a healthy family. They concentrated on making money and forgot communication. They taught their kids how to study but not how to say no to peer pressure. They eat well but neglect exercise.

I read a story recently about a young social worker who had just graduated from college and taken her first assignment in the inner city. It was there she met Danny.

The boy was curled up against a wall watching his friends play stickball. Danny couldn’t walk and he couldn’t run. So the young social worker decided she would find out what was wrong with Danny. She discovered that about a year before Danny had been playing ball with his friends. He chased after a fly ball and into the path of an oncoming car. His arms and legs were broken and there was damage to his back and ribs.

Some of the children took Danny to his mom who neglected to take him to the hospital. So when the bones began to heal they healed crooked. He couldn’t walk and he couldn’t run, so his friends would carry him down and lean him up against the wall of the building so he could watch them play ball.

The social worker determined to help Danny. She took him to a hospital and there over a period of months Danny underwent 17 separate operations on his legs, arms and back. Finally that day came when once again Danny was able to play stickball…to walk and to run. After months of operations and physical therapy, they had taught Danny to walk again.

Years later the social worker was standing in front of a large gathering of other social workers from all over the country. After telling the story to the group, the social worker asked, “What do you think Danny is doing today?”

Someone said, “I bet Danny is a social worker just like you.” Another guessed Danny was a teacher. Others guessed he was a coach or a pastor of a church.

The social worker shook her head, “Today, Danny is on death row in prison for having, committed murder. You see, we taught him how to walk; we just never taught him where to walk.”

One ingredient can make all the difference in the world. This week the Pastors in the Kings County would love to add an essential ingredient to your life. That ingredient comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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