(Edited; Author Unknown)
There was once a daughter who complained to her father about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of all the fighting and struggling. It seemed as though, in solving one problem, two more would arise.
Her father, who was a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a burner. Soon the pots came to a boil. In one he placed carrots, in the second he placed eggs, and in the last he placed ground coffee beans. He let them sit and boil without saying a word.
His daughter waited impatiently, wondering what he was doing. In about twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He fished out the carrots and placed them in a bowl. He pulled out the eggs and placed them in a bowl. Then he ladled out the coffee and poured it into a cup. Turning to her he asked, “Darling, what do you see?”
“Carrots, eggs, and coffee,” she replied. He brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did so and noted they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. She smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. She humbly asked, “What does it mean, father?”
He explained that each of them had faced the same adversity, boiling water. But each reacted differently. The carrots went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. But after being subjected to the boiling water, they softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior. But after sitting in the boiling water, the insides became hardened. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. As they were in the boiling water, they changed the water.
He asked his daughter, “Which are you?” When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you like a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?
Now, how about you? Are you the carrot that seems hard, but with pain and adversity do you wilt and become soft and lose your strength? Are you the egg which starts off with a changeable heart, but after difficult times have you become hardened and stiff? You look the same on the outside, but do you have a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or, are you like the coffee bean? You see, the bean changes the hot water, the thing bringing the pain. When the water reaches its peak temperature, it just tastes better. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst you get better and make things better around you. When the hour is darkest and trials are greatest, does your worship elevate to another level?
How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?…
Editor’s note: We would all do well to consider the point of this story. As Christians we should be shining lights showing a better way, walking with our Savior (Matt. 5:14-16). Perhaps more than ever before, the people around us need to see that better way through our Christian influence. Our prayer should be, “Lord, help me be like the coffee bean!”…
Gary L. Hutchens