I said “yes” a couple days ago when our once a month men’s breakfast cook asked me to take his place as he was sick. It’s not a milk and cornflakes kind of deal for our little country church. It’s supposed to be the best breakfast in the region. A “no excuse” kind of breakfast for the hungry as far as the food is concerned. Vision.
The guys put all kinds of money in the donation basket as all of it goes toward helping kids go to summer camp or a weekend winter camp. The kids raise half and they can get a scholarship for the other half. many of the guys will hire any kids needing to raise the rest of the money. If kids have nothing invested, they are more likely to get less out of camp. A life principle truth learned early is a good thing. Vision.
A good 30 to 40 minutes of eating, visiting and story telling round the tables and the rest of the hour one of the guys has been asked to prepare a spiritual challenge or story for the group to chew on. Often many guys stick around awhile to make their own comments before heading to work, back to the farm, maybe the shop or the lake. A few guys stick around and help clean up and make the kitchen look good for the next use. Value.
A long time ago, before moving away 10 years ago, this was men’s breakfast. Now that I have moved back I secretly wonder if the mission of the breakfast has drifted. I wonder if it’s still an entryway for neighbors to be fed physically, socially and spiritually? I wonder if the first Saturday of the month has been cheapened? Any Vision or value?
We often had up to 5 guys cooking and baking. Fresh from scratch and hot is important. One might have pecan and some plain caramel rolls while another has an egg bake loaded with ham or huge sausage pieces and one half is covered in cheese peppers and mushrooms. Someone is making biscuits and another making sausage gravy while stirring the fried potatoes with a pound of bacon pieces and onion. A couple serving people making tables ready with coffee crofts and syrup pitchers. Real plates and nice coffee mugs (actually created for this breakfast) make a statement of value to those being fed. Real coffee is sometimes debated but the guys are reminded they can water coffee down but the gospel will not be watered down here! Vision and value.
This morning I was sad in a way. My suspicions were correct. Our vision had become a program. The 40 guys who used to “own” this vision are mostly gone. I suspected things had changed when I asked what seasonings the men’s breakfast cabinet had on hand, “I’m not sure” prompted my subtly coded question with a picture added “can I bring mine?” (sent picture below).
I waited until the meal ended to ask the one guy helping me who was supposed to have a challenge ready for the guys. He said he was but he probably couldn’t make it through without his voice giving out (just recovered from losing his voice). I asked if it was ok for me to say a few words. “Yes please do”
When I said yes, I weighed the cost. I didn’t know if I would have help so I had the ham diced for the eggs, the onions and bacon sliced and diced to put with the 3/4 baked potatoes which were sliced for american breakfast fries. The biscuits and gravy was made the night before (just heat them up). The Pancakes could be made and kept warm in the oven. If no one showed for giving a spiritual challenge with good stories…I was ready. I actually used 3 blogger stories as illustrations (15 minutes as promised).
There is hope. One of the guys who came was a neighbor. He brought his kids. They loved the food. He liked what was said, He was part of the conversation after and he helped clean up the kitchen just to get to know us. There will be more to come on his part and hopefully on ours.
Work is the word I left out of “Vision to Value” Work is not a culturally fond word even though it’s a necessary ingredient for vision to have any sensible shape. A workable vision (have the best men’s breakfast around) must be worked through to have any value (those eating would agree and come back for more). The cost of saying “Yes” for me would have been way less if I had no vision (you guys are eating corn flakes with milk because I don’t want to work any harder than that).
Perhaps the cost will be greater than I thought since I would like to see 40 guys “owning” this “vision to value” again.