Feeling a bit on the crummy side today? Perhaps you’ve even begun to feel that life itself is rather crummy. You know, crummy weather, crummy traffic, crummy coworkers?
As we celebrate the third year of our web-series Angel in the Kitchen, we’re reminded of a valuable lesson we learned … from our toaster! Yes, just about everything we encounter in the kitchen (foods, cooking, and appliances) seems to help illustrate truths about life, love, and relationships. And our faithful little toaster is no different. We use the word faithful, because if we were to call him our “Brave Little Toaster,” Walt Disney Studios could sue us. And we’d be miserable begging on a street corner. No, really!
Besides, “faithful” truly fits our toaster. He’s waiting for us, there in the kitchen, each morning. Always ready to serve us our daily bread at the flip of a lever — golden brown, never burnt. Always cheerful with a positive attitude — at least, that’s how we choose to imagine him.
Most of the time. Some mornings, however, it’s as though our toaster woke up on the wrong side of the counter. He has this stinking attitude, as though something’s smoldering inside. Oh yeah, and on such mornings he apparently takes his bad day out on us, by burning our toast! We dare not say anything, though, because he might start flinging sliced bread in our faces.
What’s his problem? Clearly our toaster is feeling a bit crummy. Let’s define “crummy”: miserable or wretched; shabby, inferior, or … even worthless!
Hey, li’l guy, you’re not inferior — you’re wonderful! So what’s got you down?
He’s not talking! So we need to use some toaster psychology. That’s when we remember that another, older definition of “crummy” is “full of crumbs”! Yes, that’s it! Whenever our toaster starts to smoke and emit the smell of burnt bread, we remove the tray from his base and, sure enough, it’s filled with crumbs!
In order to keep our faithful toaster happy and performing at the top of his game, we have to periodically shake off the crumbs that accumulate around his metallic feet — er, base! We follow this step with a gentle wipe-down of his tray, and then return him to the appliance garage located atop the kitchen counter. Wait a sec. Please excuse us. “The Masked Toaster” insists we call it the Avengers Tower — headquarters of that famed team of culinary crime fighters, Captain Can-Opener, The Mighty Thor (our blender), and Iron Griddle! (No, we are NOT looney! But our appliances ARE a bit eccentric!)
Getting back to what we asked you at the beginning of this article, “Feeling a bit on the crummy side today?” If so, understand that it’s not just toasters that can accumulate crumbs. In life, we too need to periodically shake off the crumbs of hurts, disappointments, and offenses; which can pile up and keep us from performing at the top of our game. We won’t “function” properly, or accomplish anything, all because we’re too busy fuming over the things in life that didn’t work out, or just don’t seem fair, or right!
When you allow the sometimes crummy comedowns, consequences, and circumstances of life to pile up in your heart, these things begin to smolder inside. Soon you’ll be “burning up” emotionally; “smoking” over past mistakes, hurts, and disappointments. And, like our toaster, you’ll start stinking in your thinking. Follow that darkened path and you’ll end up as toast!
Things don’t always work out as we planned. And we don’t always get what we want. But, to quote a pseudo-Chinese proverb, “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.“ Furthermore, at one time or another, we encounter “crumbs” in the form people who are uncaring, insensitive, and downright rude. In fact, crumb can be defined as an untrustworthy or contemptible person! And — even when interacting with dear friends and family — we can slowly accumulate the crumbs of offenses, which can lead to unforgiveness and eventually bitterness; which can burn us up emotionally! When this happens, we’re toast!
The disciples of Christ faced this problem, as they travelled from place to place spreading the Gospel. Some towns accepted them and extended hospitality. Others rudely rejected the disciples and their message. We can imagine this rejection was both bewildering and upsetting. Perhaps it even angered these men. Who could blame them? Have you ever tried to bless someone with an act of kindness, and received nothing in return but ingratitude and scorn? Well, sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Jesus understood how quickly and easily the crumbs of offenses can pile up; and He didn’t want His disciples “smoking” from these social slights. So He admonished His followers, “If people do not welcome you, leave … and shake the dust off your feet….” (Luke 9:5 NIV) Jesus used the analogy of “dust” to represent rejection, mistreatment, and disappointments. But He could have just as well said, “Shake off the crumbs!” Of course, at the time, no one would have understood what in the world He meant — because no one owned a toaster 2,000 years ago!
Regardless, God doesn’t want you burning up inside, fuming over people who’ve wronged you, and stinking in your thinking! That means you can’t allow the “crumbs” to get inside your spirit. So, when hurts come, or things just don’t go as you planned or hoped for, shake the crumbs off your feet and keep moving forward! “Pursue peace with all, …lest any root of bitterness springing up should trouble you….” (Hebrews 12:14-15 BLB)