A Tale of Two Jerkies

My parents ran the college group at my church growing up.  I got to chill out with them.  As a six-year-old, that’s a big deal.  That went on my kindergarten resume, I’ll have you know.  🙂

One time, at a get together at my parents’ house, everybody brought potluck.  Well, almost everybody.  Two brothers brought jerky.  I never thought of jerky as potluck, but they were two single guys who I’d never seen cook.

“Do you like it?” the brothers asked.

“Well . . there’s something wrong with this jerky,” Dad said.

I was immediately interested.  Dad was the unpickiest eater I knew.  I was even more interested because of the embarrassment this caused my mother.

“Oh, I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with it,” Mom said, picking up a piece to demonstrate just this.  She took a bite.

“It’s good,” she said, a bit uncertainly, I thought.

But the brothers were proud of it.  They kept urging everybody to try it.  And everybody who ate said it was good, too.

Now I was really interested.  I’d probably never tried jerky before.  So I pulled out one of the sticks and took a bite.

It had a weird chemical taste to it, like the beef had been sprayed down with pesticides before drying.

“It’s good,” I said loudly.

Mom, gauging my reaction, quickly scooted me away from the two guys so she could pitch the rest of my jerky stick in the trash.

“Mom,” I whispered, “it tastes bad.”

“I know,” she whispered.  But she ate her jerky.  So did everybody else.

About the time everybody had gotten theirs at least partway down, the two guys burst out into hysterical, very noisy laughter.

Nobody knew why.

Well, everybody was getting pretty suspicious.

Turned out, they had brought jerky all right, but not beef jerky.

Dog jerky.

I don’t know what is in dog jerky.  But I can tell you it just goes to show you dogs will eat just about everything.  The fact that they want to come back for more probably does prove, once and for all, as much as I hate to admit it, that cats are smarter than dogs.

I was able to overlook their joke for two reasons.  One was because Mom had saved me from eating more than one bite.  The other was because the two guys later bought me a stuffed Grover when I was in the hospital.

Dad really had no big upset, either.  He’d only taken a bite, stated how he felt, and moved on to the potato casserole.

Everybody else on the other hand . . well, had a little more to get over.

It was like a retelling of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.  Everybody in the room wanted to be polite and say nice things, except my dad.  He just told the truth.

I love how real my dad was.  I love that he was honest enough to not make himself eat jerky made for dogs, or pretend that he was eating it when he wasn’t.

I wonder, though.  Am I that honest?

I don’t have to wonder for long.  I’m not.

I want to be, but I am still so afraid of what people will think.  It’s easier to go along with an objectionable comment, or at least pretend to go along with it, than to say it isn’t right.

I don’t mean I want to be in people’s faces confronting them.  But when I know something is wrong, and someone asks to hear my voice, why am I so reluctant to say what I know is real?

Is Satan making a fool out of me because I am trying to be polite and nice . . when what I really need to share is the Truth?

Truthful words stand the test of time,

but lies are soon exposed. (Proverbs 12:19, NLT)




“There’s an app for that.”

I don’t know who started the phrase, but it’s come to express what has become a growing reality: whatever you need, there is an app on your iphone made just for it.

Need to find out how many calories were in the meal you just ate?  There’s an app for that.  Need to flip a coin to see who pays for the meal?  There’s an app for that, too.  Need to calculate the tip for your waiter?  There’s an app for that.   Want to write a review of the restaurant?  There’s an app for that.  Want to throw birds at pigs while you wait for your receipt?

There’s an app for that.

With all the things there are apps for, it seems like technology’s self-sufficiency at meeting our needs (and wants) keeps climbing, until one day we might be able to carry around only an iphone and receive everything we want.

But that’s not really going to happen.  Maybe one day we’ll be able to do all our daily business from our phones, and feed all our entertainment desires, but we’ll never find an app for everything.

Because our greatest needs can’t be apped.

I can’t find forgiveness through an app.  I can find distraction from my guilt–but no forgiveness.

I can’t find courage through an app.  I can find games that make me seem brave–but no courage.

I can’t find joy through an app.  I can find ways to make my life more efficient or easier–but no joy.

I can’t find the love I’m searching for through an app.  I can find people through social networking apps, but it is only by their communication–and not technology–that I can feel any love from them at all.  And even then, even if I have thousands of fans and dozens of friends. . I’m not going to find the everlasting love or the self-sacrificing love that I’m looking for.

There’s not an app for that.

As useful as apps can be to navigate through the day, they are completely helpless to aid the longings or condition of the soul.  For that, we must find a personal God, who has the power to forgive us, love us, and fill us.

There’s no app that can find God for us.


Just like a bookshelf can hold a Bible, there are electronic bookshelves that hold the Bible.  A bookshelf can’t lead you to God . . . but God’s Word that is on the shelf can.

That’s just downright awesome.

All right, for my app lovers out there, this one’s for you:

Where can I find an electronic bookshelf holding the Word of the one and only God?

There’s an app for that.

The word of the Lord spread throughout the whole region. (Acts 13:49, GW)