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Yevet Tenney's header

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The Milk House

Just dropping by ... The Parable of the Unprepared

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Columns - Yevet Tenney
Thursday, 14 July 2011 11:56

 Click here to listen to a podcast of this column.

(
Setting: Church basement with congregation members sitting around in a circle waiting. Enter ACTRESS playing the part of the never-prepared, always-too-busy person we know in all of our lives. She rushes in and begins to address the group.)

ACTRESS: Hi, I am Sally Put Off A Lot. I have a confession to make. The church preparedness committee asked me six months ago to have a skit for the activity tomorrow, and I said I would, but these last three weeks have been so hectic. I mean with the wind and everything, and the shopping, and summer break, and my schedule being disrupted at every turn.

Every single one of my 250 friends contacted me 45 times on Facebook and I had to send them all a gift. You know how that is, and the wind ... wasn’t that just terrible. I thought the whole town was going to blow away, then I had to sweep dust a foot deep out of my basement!

Then the laundry ... good grief, I think everyone changed their clothes six times a day. I had stacks and stacks of laundry. You can see for yourself. I didn’t have time to organize a skit … until today, so here we are.

(Congregation members roll their eyes.)

ACTRESS: I finally picked up the script we are to perform from our church playwright yesterday. She and her husband are two of those minutemen folks. They are always prepared. You go down in their storeroom and it is chock-a-block full with every kind of thing you can imagine.

These people even store M&Ms because someday they might not be able to get them, and they’d like to be able to share a treat with someone else. Well, I have my own opinions about storing food for a disaster. My kids don’t like wheat and oats and stuff.

We make it a practice to eat out three times a week so the kids can have their favorite treat and then the rest of the week I get frozen or canned dinners. It saves me time. I can’t possibly imagine storing 365 TV dinners times five to eat for a year, that’s more than I can figure out on the calculator.

I can’t imagine why Glenn Beck would suggest such a thing. I wouldn’t have anywhere to put that much food. Anyway, I don’t believe there is going to be a disaster. Nothing can happen around here. I mean, they have been talking disaster for years.

I remember the Y2K thing. That was a right-wing conspiracy theory to get people to buy new computers or something! Besides nothing ever happens, and even if it does, we’ll go on welfare. Those people who have those M&Ms stored away will have extra. They always do.

Anyway, I was talking about the skit, and I got sidetracked. Like I said, I haven’t had time to read the script, so I figured I’d just pick a few of you to start reading some of these parts (pointing to script in hand). I mean, it doesn’t have to be fancy or anything. Everyone knows you, like me, don’t have time for a silly skit.

(ACTRESS begins handing out parts to church members, who begin studying their lines.)

ACTRESS: You can read Moses, and you Noah, and you Joseph. (ACTRESS breathes a sigh of relief.) Ohhhhh, these are easy parts. Now the moral of this story is preparedness from the Bible. Even though we have not read the script yet, we should all know the characters. I hope you enjoy the show.

(ACTRESS takes her seat, acting as director. All others begin rehearsing. Man playing ANGEL begins.)

ANGEL: Noah, here is your commission. The Lord wants you to build an ark and gather two of every kind of animal on the ark. The Lord is going to make it rain for 40 days and 40 nights. The whole earth will be covered with water.

(Man playing NOAH pretends to wake up from a nap.)

NOAH: Huh? Me? That’s a big task! Do you have any idea how many different kinds of animals there are? I don’t even know them all. It would take me a lifetime just to name all of them, let alone find each one and make sure it had a mate.

Once I tried to get a donkey in a corral. It took me five hours. Multiply that times ... why I can’t even think of numbers up that high. The Lord can’t possibly want me to do that.

Build an ark? I’m a farmer! I don’t know how to build anything that floats. What is this thing called rain anyway? There are no disasters in the forecast. I think I’ll sleep on this one.

(NOAH turns over and goes back to sleep. A few seconds later, ANGEL taps NOAH on the shoulder.)

ANGEL: Noah, the Lord needs you.

(NOAH opens one eye.)

NOAH: If it’s that important, somebody else will build an ark and I’ll be the first to book passage.

(ANGEL turns to MOSES, who is being fanned by some lovely ladies in Pharaoh’s court.)

ANGEL: Moses, your mission in life is to free the Israelites from Pharaoh’s grasp. Take them across the wilderness. You will become one of the greatest prophets of all time.

(MOSES settles more deeply into a pretend hammock.)

MOSES: Me? I really don’t think the Lord would want me to do that. I have a few slaves of my own. They come at my beckon call. I can have food and drink at the snap of a finger. It wouldn’t be politically correct to free the slaves. The government would frown on such a move.

Besides, even if I wanted to free the slaves, can you imagine going on a camping trip in the wilderness with over a million people? That is suicide! I don’t think so! I have plenty of blessings.

Even if I get around to it, there are no disasters in the forecast. I think I’ll keep things the way they are. If I play my cards right, I might even become the greatest pharaoh of all time.

(ANGEL turns to JOSEPH, who is sitting eating grapes.)

ANGEL: Joseph, you were sold into Egypt for a purpose. The Lord visited Pharaoh in a dream. You interpreted that dream.

(JOSEPH smiles and pops a grape into his mouth.)

JOSEPH: Got me out of that stinky, old dungeon.

(ANGEL shakes his finger at JOSEPH.)

ANGEL: The Lord expects something in return. You need to prepare and store food for the seven years of famine. Your family will come to you for assistance and you will save all Egypt and all the lands round about. Rise up, Joseph, and obey the Lord.

(JOSEPH sits up.)

JOSEPH: Seven years? For how many countries? Do you know how much food that is? We don’t even have granaries. Where would we put that much food? That is a big task for one country. If the Lord wants it done, I’m sure he’ll get other countries to pitch in.

I’m only one man. Sure, I caught the eye of the Pharaoh by interpreting his dream, but the Lord really can’t mean for me to store that much food. Seven years? How many countries are we talking here? No, no, no, too big a job. I’m much too busy taking care of the affairs of being Pharaoh’s right-hand man.

ANGEL: Joseph, your family will starve!

(JOSEPH leans back on his elbow and yawns.)

JOSEPH: I guess I could try when I get around to it, but certainly, the Lord can’t expect too much. I have lots of things to do with chariot prices like they are. The price of grain is going up. Even Pharaoh won’t be able to travel if the economy gets any worse. Kamut seeds are out of sight.

(ACTRESS, just now realzing something is wrong, stops the rehearsal.)

ACTRESS: Are you sure you are reading those scripts correctly? I never heard Joseph saying something like that. This is supposed to be about preparedness. Come on, Angel, get the story straight!

This is not the way those men were. They were valiant and obedient. They did what they were called to do. I don’t appreciate you making light of the wonderful things they did.

This is a play about obedience. Nothing would have turned out right if those men hadn’t been obedient. The earth would have perished without Noah. Egypt would still be a world power, and we would have been slaves. If Joseph had not stored food, half the world would have died of starvation.

The Twelve Tribes of Israel would be one tribe. It wasn’t easy for them to obey. It was downright hard. But they did it. They lived through the adversity, because they loved the Lord and wanted to be obedient no matter how hard it was. They didn’t know how things were going to turn out in the beginning, but they cared enough to follow the Lord to the end ...

(ACTRESS realizes she has been fooled by church’s playwright.)

ACTRESS: Wait a minute! This is a trick. Obedience has nothing to do with taking time to prepare a skit for the church activity. And it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with emergency preparedness. Does it? I’m going to have a little talk with the church playwright. I am going to set her straight on a few things. Just as soon as I get around to it!

(Laughter from church members and cast toward ACTRESS, who has completely missed the point that the joke really is on her and no one else.)  PD

 

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