Denalyn called as I was driving home the other day. "Can you stop at the grocery store and pick up some bread?"
"Do I need to tell you where to find it?"
"Are you kidding? I was born with a bread-aisle tracking system."
"Just stay focused, Max."
She was nervous. Rightly so. I am the Exxon Valdez of grocery shopping.
My mom once sent me to buy butter and milk; I bought buttermilk. I mistook a tube of hair cream for toothpaste. I thought the express aisle was a place to express your opinion. I am a charter member of the Clueless Husband Shopping Squad.
I can relate to the fellow who came home from the grocery store with one carton of eggs, two sacks of flour, three boxes of cake mix, four sacks of sugar, and five cans of cake frosting. His wife looked at the sacks of groceries and lamented, "I never should have numbered the list."
So, knowing that Denalyn was counting on me, I parked the car at the market and entered the door. En route to the bread aisle, I spotted my favorite cereal, so I picked up a box, which made me wonder if we needed milk. I found a gallon in the dairy section.
The cold milk stirred images of one of God's great gifts to humanity: Oreo cookies. The heavenly banquet will consist of tables and tables of Oreo cookies and milk. We will spend eternity dipping and slurping our way through ... Okay, enough of that.
I grabbed a pack of cookies, which happened to occupy the same half of the store as barbecue potato chips. What a wonderful world this is—cookies and barbecue chips under the same roof! On the way to the checkout counter, I spotted some ice cream. Within a few minutes I'd filled the basket with every essential item for a happy and fulfilled life. I checked out and drove home.
Denalyn looked at my purchases, then at me. Can you guess her question? All together now: "Where's the bread?"
I went back to the grocery store.
I forgot the big item. The one thing I went to get. The one essential product. I forgot the bread.
Might we make the same mistake in a more critical arena? In an effort to do good, we can get distracted. We feed people. We encourage, heal, help, and serve. We address racial issues and poverty. Yet there is one duty we must fulfill. We can't forget the bread.
Max Lucado, Outlive Your Life Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010, 33-34.
More Stories by Max Lucado
Finding Father Benjamin: A Fable by Max Lucado, SFS, 5 October 2010.
Becoming More Ourselves, SFS, 16 January 2007.
Learning to Listen, SFS, 10 September 2006.
Geoff Pound's new book Talk About Thanksgiving: Stories of Gratitude is described in this post.
Image: “I forgot the big item. The one thing I went to get. The one essential product. I forgot the bread.”