My imaginary cousin Willie Wally Wishum is often the butt of jokes. For example, he was enjoying his first ever comedy show until a ventriloquist launched into a barrage of jokes about rednecks. Willie took it as long as he could before he stood up at his table and shouted at the performer, “I've heard enough of your smart-mouth redneck jokes; we ain't all stupid ‘round here."
The ventriloquist tried to explain, “It’s all in good fun.”
But Willie interrupted. "You shut up and stay out of this, Mister” Willie screamed. “I'm talking to the smart-mouth little fella on your knee!"
And so it goes for Willie. He did get one laugh on somebody else though when an old army buddy from New York City came to see him last week in Doles. Being a good host, Willie picked a plump, ripe watermelon from his garden and offered it to his guest. “This here is the sweetest fruit you’ll ever taste,” he boasted
Having never seen a watermelon, the guest treated it like a big apple and tried to bite into it - from the outside. He discovered that watermelon rind is not goo
d at all! The sweet part of the melon is in the middle, the heart.
Far too many people have sampled Christianity and found it unappetizing. Many of them stare blankly from church pews on Sundays. They nibble the rind, tasting just enough religion to leave a sour taste in their mouths. Others taste it once or twice and never return.
God, however, offers pleasing fruit for which every soul hungers. He invites us to “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). He serves up the sweetness of love, the joy of forgiveness, and the strength of hope. He spreads his table with instructions to insure that “it may go well with you and your children after you, and that you may live long” (Deuteronomy 4:40).
If you’ve tasted church and turned away, or if you sit unsatisfied through Sunday services, let me offer a suggestion. Cut past the peel and find the real flavor of faith. Going to church is necessary, but it is not the core of Christianity. It’s like watermelon rind that is needed to hold the fruit while it ripens, but it is not the fruit.
Find the fruit. Cut to the heart. Hidden there is unsurpassed sweetness.