April 27, 2011

The Pumpkin Pie Incident

A few weeks ago I had a discussion with a coworker about the various ways God takes care of us. She asked, “Does God really care about the mundane things in our lives?” Her question brought to mind an incident that happened to our family when our children were very young.
On the Friday after Thanksgiving I had to break the unpleasant news to our children that we were not going to have pumpkin pie for dessert the next day as planned. Looking at their disappointed young faces, I mentally chided myself for spending more time than I’d planned shopping the “black Friday” discounts advertised for the first shopping day of Christmas. I had shopped until late afternoon. This left little time to clean the house, and absolutely none for additional baking.
“But you promised!” was the children’s chorused response.
2011 1512 page31“I’m sorry,” I said, “but we simply don’t have time to get it done this evening.”
My suggestion that we could make pumpkin pie on Saturday night instead was met with much protest. “It just wouldn’t be the same,” the older children insisted.
As a young mother I felt awful, especially since I knew that the children were looking forward to this special dessert, in part because they were going to assist in its preparation. I tried to explain that the sun was fast setting, and even if the mixture were prepared, we would have to disrupt Friday evening worship with intermittent checks on the oven to ensure that the pie didn’t burn.
I knew that to go ahead and bake the pie would undermine all that my husband and I had been trying to teach them about preparing for the Sabbath—of cleaning, baking, cooking, and laying out all the clothing for church ahead of time, so that everyone would be relaxed and ready to welcome God’s holy day.
Sabbath morning my husband and three of the children went off to church. I stayed home with the baby, who woke up that morning with a slight temperature.
About 11:45 I heard the car pulling into the driveway. Surely service couldn’t be out this early.
The children bounded into the house with whoops and shouts. “Mom! Come and see what we’ve got!”
The eldest child held out a large bag, and proceeded to explain that as they walked into church that morning, two women from women’s ministries declared: “Here comes one of our favorite families! Please take this home to your mom,” and one of the women handed them a large bag in which was an equally large box.
Dad indicated that he could hardly keep the kids still during the service because they wanted to open the gift bag. So he’d decided to leave church well before the sermon ended.
To everyone’s amazement, the box within contained a 12-inch pumpkin pie, amply decorated with fluted whipped cream and cherries on top! Undoubtedly it was a much bigger and better pie than we could have prepared ourselves.
In the midst of all the excitement one little voice asked, “But how did those ladies know that we really wanted some pumpkin pie?”
“Oh, honey, they didn’t know,” I said. “But God certainly did!” And I proceeded to explain that there’s nothing too small or commonplace about our lives in which He has no interest. I further explained that by being obedient to God’s commandment to “remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy,” (Ex. 20:8, KJV), and by faithfully serving Him, He would always fulfill His promises to provide for His children, even with something as insignificant as a pumpkin pie.
Was there a lesson in faithfulness to be found in a pumpkin pie? Ask my children, especially the older girls; for even though this incident occurred several years ago, it made a huge impression on their young minds. The lesson we pray they will carry into adulthood is that all God requires is that we be faithful in serving Him, no matter the circumstance. The psalmist wrote: “The Lord preserveth the faithful” (Ps.31:23, KJV). Our older children often remind the younger ones of the “pumpkin pie” incident.
Oh, what an awesome God we serve!
Marvene Thorpe-Baptiste is an editorial assistant for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines. This article was published April 28, 2011.