November 24, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: Salting Before You Taste

Years ago, Marianne and I went on vacation to Mexico Beach, Florida with my sister and brother in law.

While there, we watched it rain every day except the day we left.

But that’s another column for another day.

Anyway, Freddy and I were engaged in some deep theological discussion when he told me a story regarding Henry Ford.

It seems that whenever Henry Ford was considering hiring someone to fill a critical management position with the Ford Motor Company, he always took the prospective employee to eat a meal before making his final decision.

Mr. Ford would purposely watch as they began to eat their meal. If the candidate salted their food before tasting it he automatically disqualified them. His reasoning was that they were making a decision and taking action before first obtaining all the facts and if they did this with their food, they would do it with their job.

And while this story is kind of an urban legend and Mr. Ford may or may not have actually done this, the lesson the story teaches is still valid.

From time to time I think all of us have been guilty of making a decision and taking action before gathering all the facts. I know I have.

I often tell folks that the thing that gets me into the most trouble in life is being absolutely sure of something – that just ain’t so! Can I get a witness? And if I’m not guilty of that, then I certainly have been guilty of putting my mouth into gear before starting my brain!

A few years back, the Troup Baptist Association was the benefactor of the Southwest LaGrange Baptist Church facilities and property.

About three weeks prior to moving our offices, I gathered volunteers to reroute air conditioning ducts, change phone service, install Internet, and begin the process of doing whatever had to be done prior to making the move.

My administrative assistant began working on sorting, throwing stuff away, and doing some packing of items to be moved. Then, on moving day, the movers came and did the majority of the packing and physically moved us into the building.

For three days, along with my assistant and some wonderful volunteers, we worked at unpacking, storing, hanging pictures, throwing stuff out, and getting everything functional. I actually did manual labor. I sweated so that my shirt was wet on the outside all the way to my belt buckle and I was sore in places I didn’t know I could be sore.

But we got into our new office. Tuesday of the following week our daughter had to have surgery. Knowing that we were going to have to babysit our daughter’s two children, I told Marianne, “Let’s have some fun with this.”

So, as soon as we knew our daughter was okay, we took those babies to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for four days. When we returned home, I walked into a place and a gentleman I know said, “What’s this I hear about you?”

I said, “I don’t know. What did you hear?” He said, “I heard you’re about a sorry dog!” I said, “What?” He continued, “I heard that when it came time to move the association office, you scheduled a bunch of volunteers and then you left and went on vacation while they did all the work.” Somebody standing beside him said, “I heard the same thing.”

Before I could catch myself I blurted out, “That’s a lie!” Then I told them the truth of the matter. I thought to myself, “Well ain’t this a fine how do you do? Here I am, have been doing manual labor, to which I am allergic (It makes me sweat and causes me to be sore in places I didn’t know I could be sore) and I ain’t even gonna get credit for it! Hummmm!”

It would seem as though somebody salted before they tasted! They made a decision and acted upon it before gathering the facts. But do you know what? I really couldn’t be that upset, ‘cause I’ve been guilty of doing the same thing. I salt before tasting, physically and metaphorically, more often than I care to admit. And just as those interviewing over a meal with Mr. Ford, my actions have probably disqualified me from a lot of things in this ole life.

I close this column today with a question: Do you salt before you taste? If so, you may want to reconsider that practice.

Brother Aaron

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