Which are you: a carrot, a boiled egg, or a coffee bean?

            If you have lived through the fifties, sixties, and the seventies you can truly say, “Today is not like the America that I grew up in.”  Every generation has had challenges and difficulties that they have faced. Sometimes people look at America today and say, “Where are we headed?  Are we still the home of the brave and land of the free?” I would have to admit that I do not envy this generation because their challenges are far greater than the challenges I had to face. 

            I overheard one of our young people make the comment, “Life today seems so hard with all the mandates and schools being canceled. Our education is being taken away and I am not sure that I can handle this. It seems that sometimes I just want to give up and quit.” 

            I heard a story about a daughter who complained to her father about her life and how difficult things were. She said, “I am tired of all the hassles of life.” Her father, who was a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a stove.  Soon, the pots came to a boil.  In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and in the last he placed ground coffee beans.   He let them sit and boil without saying a word.  The daughter impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes he turned off the burners.  He fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.  Then he dipped the coffee out and poured it in a cup.  Turning to her he asked. “Honey, what do you see?” “Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots.  She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it.  After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg.  Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.  She humbly asked. “What does it mean?”

            He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water, but each of them reacted differently. The carrots were hard and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, they softened and became weak. The egg was fragile, and its outer shell protected its liquid interior. But after sitting through the boiling water, the insides became hardened. However, the ground coffee beans were unique and after they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

            “Which are you? Are you the carrot that seems hard, but with pain and adversity do you wilt, become soft and lose your strength? Are you the egg, which starts off with a changeable heart and when difficult times come your way, do you become hardened and stiff? Or are you like the coffee bean? You see the bean changes the hot water, the thing that is bringing the pain.”[1]

            The carrot and the egg were changed by the boiling water, but the coffee beans changed the water. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and make things better around you. 

            How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean? “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its complete result, so that you be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). 

Written by:  Rick Billingsley

[1] The author of this story is unknown and was written a long time ago. I had to update the language to make it applicable for today. 

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