Jesus and the Parable of the Oatmeal

At the tender age of 7, I took things pretty literally. Especially things I learned in Sunday School. I mean, if Jesus said to give your coat to someone that needs it, wouldn’t I be expected to give my coat, even if I would be really, really cold? Fortunately, the days one needs a coat in South Florida can be counted on one hand, so the coat thing never really effected me.

But there was oatmeal, and that caused a big conflict.

My grandparents were visiting for a week during the summer. Mama was at work. I was up before Grandma, for some reason.

*knock* *knock*

After establishing who was at the door (one could never be too careful about child molesters or ax murders), I opened the door for my neighbor, Mrs. Jones (no seriously, that was her name). She wanted instant oatmeal for her kids, and she was out. Did we have any?

I ran to the pantry, shuffled through some things and came across the last packet of Maple & Brown Sugar Quaker Instant Oatmeal. Proud of my self-sufficiency, I ran to the door and gave her the packet. We had just learned about giving in Sunday School (you know, “Whatsoever you do to the least of these…”), so I felt as pleased as if I had handed the packet of oatmeal to Jesus Christ Himself.

Know who was not as pleased? My Southern Baptist grandmother.

“Kendra! You gave away the last packet of oatmeal?” was the rather hostile response I received to my exuberant retelling of my giving oatmeal to Jesus (or Mrs. Jones, whatever). Please note that she was not looking for said oatmeal. I was just telling her the story.

“What if Granddaddy wanted that oatmeal for breakfast?!”

“He could have toast,” I offered. Clearly she wasn’t getting the Jesus giving connection that I was trying to explain to her.

“Family comes first, before anything else. Never give away anything without checking with all your family first.”

So went my first lesson that, when it comes to Jesus, people love the stories. It is the practice that seems to throw a wrench in it all.

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One Comment on “Jesus and the Parable of the Oatmeal”

  1. Amy Says:

    How far does the checking go? All your family could be a rather lengthy process. “Hi, Aunt Bea? Yes, it has been a long time. I am thinking of giving this old sweatshirt to Goodwill…”


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