The Jones Toaster
by Nate Dame
I love my in-laws. In fact, we have a great relationship, and I’ve enjoyed not only marrying their beautiful daughter, but becoming a part of their family.
But every family has its quirks, and one of the Jones quirks is their toaster. It always makes me smile.
Toast is the most popular breakfast item in the Jones household, and they have one of those long toasters that holds four slices of bread at a time. The trick is getting it toasted just right.
Since time began, every morning after the toast pops up, Mom or Dad Jones would press the level down again because it’s never quite finished the first time. Then usually mid way through the 2nd cycle, they hit the cancel button and the toast comes out just right.
Why not just change the settings on the toaster to make it toast more the first time? Well, the toaster fits neatly in the corner by the stove, and in that position you never see the dial because it’s pressed up against the wall.
For a while they even forgot that dial existed, and when I discovered it I was forbidden to touch it. That’s because the dial is set to the lowest possible setting. The whole family has an ingrained habit of toasting everything twice. If anybody changes that dial and forgets to set it back, tomorrow morning the toast is going to get burned.
So when you talk to my wife about toasters, she thinks about her family’s toaster that she grew up with. In the same way, when she began to learn about her heavenly Father, she thought about her own father (fortunately she had a great example).
My point is this: Every family has its quirks. Do you know your students’ families? Have you taken the time to try to learn about their past?
In youth ministry, so much of our students’ perception of God is put through the “filter” of what they learn at home, whether good or bad. If we don’t take the time to learn what “filters” they see the world through, we may not know what they need so that the seed of God’s Word falls on good soil in their lives.
Take time to ask questions about your students’ family and past, and then listen. It’s an easy task, yet one with great rewards.
“But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23
Nathaniel Dame is the president of Called to Youth Ministry which provides the youth ministry resources, coaching, community and training youth pastors need. He is driven by a passion to promote effective youth ministry in the local church. Nathaniel lives with his beautiful wife, Christa, in Woodstock, Illinois.