Pots and Vats

Once there were two boys playing the back yard. They were both good friends, and they got along well for the most part. But one of them had a quick temper, and occasionally he would lose it, and I have to say he had hurt his good friend more than once.

But the curious thing about this temper of his is that his father had never seen it. Everyone else had, but when his father was around, he never seemed to lose control they way he did at other times. This made his father very curious, because he did not know what everyone else was talking about.

As I said these two boys were playing in the back yard, and on this day, the hot-tempered boy’s father was home, standing in the kitchen, talking with his wife.

Suddenly his mother said, “There! There it is!” Coming in through the open window were loud, angry shouts, and so the father stepped out on to the back porch. The shouting abruptly stopped, and the father said nothing, but motioned with his finger. The motion was that motion recognized by children everywhere, and it meant “Come here. Now.”

When his son was in the kitchen, the father pointed to a chair, and had his son sit down. What he did next astonished the boy. He bent down and took out four pots and pans, three large and one small. He filled them all with water, turned on all four burners on the stove, set the pots there, and started to leave the room. At the door, he turned to his son, and said, “Call me when you get it.”

Some minutes passed by, and the boy just sat staring at the stove, still bewildered. Of course, it was not long before the small pot was boiling over the surface of the stove. “Dad! Dad!” the boy called.

When his father came in the kitchen, the boy said, “Dad, I don’t get what you meant. But I had to call you. The pot was boiling over.”

“Which one?” the father asked.

“This one. The small one.”

“Exactly. The small pot boils over first. Do you think God gave you to me so that I could raise you up to be a small pot? Do you think the kingdom of God needs more small pots?”

“No, sir,” the boy said.

“Your friend is still outside. I think you need to seek his forgiveness. Do you agree?”

“Yes, sir,” his son said.

The father tousled his son’s hair, took him by the shoulders, and said, “What do you want to be when you grow up, then?”

“A vat.”

“Now you have it.” And the screen door slammed.

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