I have worked my fair share of odd summer jobs, including working in carnival food carts: from shoveling out your favorite snow cone or grabbing the monster bag of cotton candy to everything in between. Each Fourth of July, I worked in the elephant ear cart, making those doughy, fried treats covered in cinnamon sugar.
Food Carts and Sticky Toppings
Sometimes, there would be ten of us in one of those tiny carts. My father and two other guys would be at the fryer, pulling dough and frying it up as quickly as possible without burning anything. My mother and another girl would work the front window, doing at least three things at once in their best customer-service voices. And I got trapped in the worst position: toppings.
Although the fry boys got overheated without AC and the window ladies lost their voices, I had the joy of being covered from head to toe in cinnamon sugar, cherries, apples, hot fudge, and Bavarian cream.
The first thing I wanted when I got home was a shower. My mom would help me brush off as much cinnamon sugar as possible before I stepped through the front door, trying to minimize how much got in the carpet. The hour-long shower still didn’t get it all off. There would be sugar in my shoes the next morning, at minimum.
A Not-So-Sugar-Coated Lesson
God seems to like showing lessons to me this way. Maybe He does the same with you. In reflecting on my humble topping days, it feels awfully similar to the way I view sin. As a Christian, I can feel the sticky, sludgy sin stuck to my skin the same way I could feel that sugar. But there are still people that don’t feel it. They’re not bothered by it. Maybe they’ve just been living with sin for so long that they no longer feel how unpleasant it is.
Just as I would grumble and complain about how horrible my shift was going to be, as a Christian, I also find myself grumbling about witnessing. I don’t think I’m alone in saying Satan gives us plenty of excuses to stay quiet. He gives us plenty of reasons to forget the lessons God shows us.
Just as my mom helped me, there are people out there that need your help finding Jesus. There are people covered in sin that don’t know it or realize it. They need help finding the church’s front door. They might be scared that they’ll get their sin all over the carpet.
As a Christian, I would hope that through the Holy Spirit, I could show someone the front door. I would hope they could know it isn’t wrong to get sin on the floor. Because they’re at church to repent from that sin—to have Jesus cleanse them from that sin through Baptism, Communion, the Word, Confession, and more—to see that Christ, through His sacrifice, freed them of what’s covering them. I would hope I could be a helper like my mother, and the church would be the food cart, bringing Christ to people.
Sometimes, God’s lessons for us take time to sink in. For me, they take reflecting on my past. I didn’t know back then that my seemingly never-ending shift was meant to teach me more than good work ethics. It was a lesson, a devotion, and even a reminder, wrapped up in toppings.
The unpleasant can be scary or seem too “dirty” to try. But, as Christians, we’re each called to it. Just as I no longer work that job and get covered head to toe, one day, we will all be with Christ and sin will no longer cover us either.
Learn how to step out of your comfort zone and talk to those who need to learn of Christ’s love and ability to cleanse them of their sin.