1877) Carrots, Eggs, and Coffee

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A parable (author unknown) that has been making the rounds on the internet.  

     A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

     Her mother took her to the kitchen.  She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.  Soon the pots came to boil.  In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs and in the last she placed ground coffee beans.  She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

     In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners.  She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl.  She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

     Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.  Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

     “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied.

     Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft.  The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.  Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee.  The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma the daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

     Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity:  boiling water.  Each reacted differently.

     The carrot went in strong, hard and unrelenting.  However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

     The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its insides became hardened.

     The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

     “Which are you?” she asked her daughter.  “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?”

You Can Choose Who To Be

     Are you the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do you wilt and lose your strength?

     Or are you the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with heat?  Did you have a fluid spirit, but after a death, breakup, financial hardship or some other trial, have you become rigid and stiff?  Does your shell look the same, but on the inside are you bitter and tough, disconnected from spirit with a hardened heart?

     Or are you like the coffee bean?  The bean actually transforms the hot water, the very circumstance that brings it pain.  When the water gets hot, the coffee releases its fragrance and flavor.  If you are like the coffee bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.  When the hour is darkest and challenges are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level?

     How do you handle adversity?  Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?  You may have started as a carrot or egg, but the beauty of life is you can consciously choose who to be.

     Here’s hoping you choose to be coffee.

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Romans 5:3b-4  —  We know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.

James 1:2-4  —  Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

II Corinthians 12:7b-10  —  In order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.

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PSALM 119:65-71:

Do good to your servant
    according to your word, Lord.
Teach me knowledge and good judgment,
    for I trust your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray,
    but now I obey your word.
You are good, and what you do is good;
    teach me your decrees.
Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies,
    I keep your precepts with all my heart.
Their hearts are callous and unfeeling,
    but I delight in your law.
It was good for me to be afflicted
    so that I might learn your decrees.