The Dessert Police

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It was the day of the church picnic.
The temperature was to be in the low 90’s.
The picnic was held at a local park, which has a pavilion, a ball field, and a playground.
There is quite a bit of shade at the park and there always seems to be a breeze.

Some of us were part of the committee.
We all had our jobs to do to make sure the day was delightful for everyone.
We had men and boys lift tables and supplies.
The food was ordered ahead of time and only desserts were asked to be brought.

Those of us who were serving food wore black aprons.
We put gloves on our hands.
It was decided not to grill hamburgers this year but to have hot dogs for the children.
There was also pulled pork with many side salads and tossed salads.

We made the sandwiches and placed them on trays.
People went through the line and were able to quickly grab a sandwich and move on.
We were a good team.
Someone opened the rolls, someone filled the rolls, and someone put the sandwich on the tray.

There was sliced watermelon.
There was pretzels and potato chips.
We servers were on one side of the long tables while the people got their food on the other side.
It was so much fun to see everyone come through the line; it was so nice to serve them.

The dessert table was not with the other food.
There were four long tables filled with desserts.
Everything was covered.
Everything was in the shade, ready to open and serve later.

Someone came over to me to tell me that children were beginning to eat the dessert.
I looked up the hill and saw cookies, and brownies being eaten and enjoyed.
It was decided that someone would have to gently remind them that the desserts were for later.
I walked up the hill.

I smiled a huge smile at the sweet children who couldn’t resist the tempting desserts.
They looked at me with wide eyes, thinking they were in trouble.
I need some helpers, I said to them.
I need some dessert police, I said as they giggled.

We have to wait until after the worship and baptismal service before we can eat the dessert.
Do you think you can make sure that the dessert doesn’t get eaten?
Do you think you can remind people that all these wonderful things are for later?
We can do that,
they said as they chewed the evidence.

I went over under the trees to sit in my chair for a bit.
I was talking to some of the other women.
After a little while, I felt a tap on my shoulder.
Do you think we can stop being the dessert police now? they asked timidly.

I looked at them as they glanced over at the playground.
Of course, I said.
You want to go play, don’t you? I asked them.
Yes! They said excitedly as they ran off.

I recruited them.
I left them to do other things.
I sat down and talked to some other women.
I had forgotten to check on them.

I felt horrible.
I tried to do the calculations in my head as to how long they had been the dessert police.
In reality, it had not been very long.
However, to a child, looking at other children on the playground, it was an eternity.

Upon their release, they ran off giggling.
A man who had been within earshot, heard me release the dessert police.
He suggested someone who could make an announcement.
A few minutes later, I heard the kind directions being given to wait a little longer.

Isn’t it just like us to want dessert before dinner?
Isn’t it just like us to see all the ooey, gooey, chocolatey desserts and not care about the meal?
Isn’t it just like us to want what we cannot have?
Isn’t it just like us to do things backwards?

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone.’” The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.  If you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here.  For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”  Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:1-13)

When Jesus was tempted in the desert, Satan tried to entice Jesus with dessert before dinner.
Satan tried to tempt Jesus to have the crown without the cross.
That was not God the Father’s plan.
God the Father knew that His Son had to die on the cross in our place in order to save us.

It is tempting to usurp the crown before the cross.
Who wants to suffer?
Jesus agonized in the Garden because He knew what was coming.
Jesus knew the suffering He must go through in our place.

God’s plan is always the cross before the crown.
God’s plan is never dessert before dinner.
God only has one plan.
God’s perfect plan secures salvation for all who believe in Jesus’ finished work on the cross.

Dessert before dinner is tempting but it does not satisfy.
The crown before the cross does not provide eternal life.
When we eat the meal of bread and wine, we remember Jesus’ body and blood.
We remember what He did in our place; what He suffered in our stead.

Dinner before dessert.
Thank you, Lord Jesus.


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