I know some people whom the world has called crazy, but I would rather think of them as creative. There is a fine line between being creative and being crazy. I am still trying to determine which category I fall into. I have been labeled both.
One of my creative friends, who shall remain nameless, told me a story which he now claims he never told. I guess this will either protect the innocent or the guilty, whichever one applies. It had to do with one of those non-brand name scraggly little stores with a couple of gas pumps out front. Not only did this store carry your normal sundries like milk, eggs and bread, but it also sold fried chicken.
Now, I am not the type of person whose first thought is to run to a gas station when my wife calls and asks me to bring home fried chicken. I am sure gas stations make just as good chicken as any colonel from Kentucky, but that thought never occurs to me. And the people who owned this store must have realized there were lots of folks like me. The demand for their fried chicken was at best slow and at worst sparse. Wanting to create more traffic, they decided to change the marquee and advertise “Today’s Special: World’s Best Fried Chicken Lips: $1.25/lb.”
I thought this was humorous, but did you know there are people in this world who are interested in eating chicken lips? The cars began to pull into that convenience store for the sole purpose of trying a pound of its world-class fried chicken lips. The store’s owner (who shall still remain nameless) announced to the customers that he was terribly sorry, “We’ve just sold out.”
If they had only come a few minutes earlier, they could have tried some. But the good news was that he still had some fresh-cooked legs, breasts, wings and thighs. Instead of going home empty-handed, they all walked out with sacks of every part of the chicken except its lips.
By this time, business was booming. People came from far and near to try the “World’s Best Fried Chicken Lips.” Wanting to take the business to the next level, the owner came up with a second brilliant marketing idea. He would offer a two-meat platter with fries. Now, he was selling a “Fried Chicken Lips and Snake Legs Combo.” If you thought the people clamored for fried chicken lips, you should have seen the crowd that showed up for the snake legs. And as always, the owner gave them the same story about having just sold out.
Now, I’m not sure whether this is a true story, even though I heard it from a friend who heard it from the friend of a friend. But it does remind me a lot of this old world.
People are gullible. A new chicken lips or snake legs salesman will come to town on a regular basis touting that he has the answer to your problem. There’s just one issue: You didn’t know you had a problem until he showed up. And people will line up, shelling out their hard-earned money for something that isn’t real.
As it turns out, many of these chicken lips/snake leg types are out to sell you some form of religion. They always have some special gimmick and prey on others’ hopelessness. “You send us just one dollar and have enough faith, and guess what God will do? He’ll return it to you tenfold.” And people line up to give their dollars, hoping something good will happen. But when they come to collect on the promise, guess what? The salesman is fresh out.
That’s one of the reasons God sent his son Jesus: So we would could know the truth, the real truth. Jesus didn’t come to tout a new religion; what He wanted was a relationship. A relationship with you. That’s why He had to die on a cross to take away the sin barrier. And now He proclaims, “’I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).
When you pull in to check out Jesus, you won’t get an “I’m sorry, we just sold out” speech. Instead, you’ll hear Him say, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). And His marquee always reads the same: “Whoever believes in Me shall have: Life, peace, hope, direction, destiny, love … “
And that beats chicken lips or snake legs every time.