It was our first day in Ecuador. We had spent the morning helping to run the kids program, the end of the year celebration. Now we were at the youth group, and I was trying my absolute hardest not to roll my eyes. They wanted us to do what? You have got to be kidding me.
But, as always, my love for Ecuador won out as I listened to the translated directions, took my raw egg in my hand, and held it gingerly.
“Now, hold it. Keep it with you. We’re playing games now, then we will go inside for the service. We will sing, and then have a lesson. Through it all, you must keep the egg with you, protect it, don’t put it down, throughout the entire afternoon.”
I can’t believe I’m doing this.
It hadn’t been 5 minutes before the first egg cracked. The gooey, golden yoke spilled out onto the concrete courtyard that separated the two buildings on PIBA’s campus.
As the games continued and more and more eggs broke, the “hold your egg” game was taken less and less seriously. Soon, you heard “Hey, catch!” followed by a splat a few seconds later. By the time the games ended and we had finished the worship time, there were only a handful of eggs left. I saw them used for all sorts of things. No one tried to break the egg, it sorta just happened. Risky behavior, like catch, resulted it messy raw egg all over your shoes. It was that simple.
Pastor Jonhattan sat down and began to teach. But what he said surprised me. It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting.
“The teenage years are hard. You think you are invincible, but you aren’t. God gave us free will, but we have to honor Him by the way you use it.”
Huh? He continued elaborating, and then asked to see a show of hands of whose egg broke. I was one of them few who remained still. He called on a boy from my team, a sixteen year old rising junior named Josh.
“How did your egg break?”“I dropped it.”“What were you doing when it dropped?”“Playing catch”“I asked you to hold onto it, to be careful.”“I was careful. I didn’t think it would break. I play catch all the time. I knew what I was doing”“I asked to be careful. Not risky”“It was my egg”“But what gave you the right to break it? It really isn’t yours. It was mine”“I guess I did”
Finally, I understood and those stupid eggs seemed to be proof of genius. An analogy so well crafted, I hadn’t even seen it coming.
Josh played catch all the time, he had every reason to assume that it would end alright. Reminds me of things I used to hear my friends say when they talked about their senior week plans.
“It doesn’t matter, I do it all the time. Besides, I’m on the pill.”“I’ve been drinking for years. And nothing has ever happened”
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people talking about taking risks, the very risks that Pastor Jonhattan was warning about now. Drinking, drugs, sex, drag racing at 11:00 at night down a narrow, dark piece of one way road.
I snapped out of my thoughts and started listening again just in time to hear him bring it home.
“Yes, that egg was in your possession, as is your life and your body. But they were gifts. Think of them as a present from God. Because in the end, that’s what they are. And treat them that way.”
He had cautioned us against teenage arrogance, how dangerous following the crowd could be. And he had told us how much we were loved in such a different, dramatic way I was hanging on to every word.
The day was perfect. I learned I lesson I wasn’t soon to forget.
I’d rather not crack. I’ve seen the mess that that can cause. I’d rather be whole. My God deserves nothing less.