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by Dr. Andrea MacVicar
Spit in Soup

Once upon a time, a master had a servant-cook. Now the master was a bully. And his cook felt many a kick when the master didn't like what the servant had fixed. The master never had a kind word of thanks even when the servant cooked something the master liked. The servant always knew when the master liked what he had cooked, because the master would grunt or belch after the meal.

One day the master heard how God loved everyone. This puzzled the master because he had heard God was pleased with him because he was rich and could hire whomever he needed to serve him. He had inherited great wealth from his ancestors: lands, cattle, gold and silver. He had been raised to believe he was blessed because he was favored by God. But when he heard how God loved everyone so very much, and that this God had come as a man-servant to walk the earth to die for the lowest of the low and for the highest of the high, and all those in between, because of his love for everyone, the master was convicted in his soul how he had treated his servant. In hearing about how this God-man-servant wanted everyone to love each other as he did, and to treat everyone with kindness and with the same forgiveness he gave, the master decided to change how he would treat his servant-cook.

That very evening, after the master was seated at the supper table, as usual the servant-cook brought in a bowl of soup and placed it in front of him.

"I want to ask you a question," the master said.

The cook was surprised. Whenever the master spoke to him, it was to order him to do something, or to yell abuse, certainly never had a question been asked.

The servant bowed his head and waited.

"Will you forgive me for the way I have treated you all these years?  I have been changed because of a story I heard about how a very great master, greater than any other who had ever lived, laid down his life for everyone. And hearing this story of love has changed my heart toward you." The master stood and put his arm around the cook. "Will you forgive me?"

After a very long pause, the cook pointed to the bowl on the table. "I have served you many bowls of soup and many dishes of food. And I can now tell you I have spit in every bowl and on every piece of food I have served you for many years. You have been eating my spit."  The cook smiled, "So master, what do you think of that?"

The master walked to the table and sat down.  He stared at the bowl for many minutes.  Finally he said, "I think I can understand why you did that."  Then he picked up the spoon, ready to dip it into the bowl.

"No, master," the servant touched his hand. "Do not eat the soup. I will make you a fresh meal."

The master stood and picked up the bowl. "Better still. I will join you in the kitchen where we will cook the meal and then eat it together."