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Don't Try To Impress the Pastor

Have you ever heard of VeggieTales? It’s extremely important to the story, so I’d better give a quick explanation.

VeggieTales is an American Christian cartoon and book franchise. The series uses fruits and vegetables to retell stories from the Bible. It also has episodes presenting life lessons according to biblical worldview.

In my home, I have been vilified for disliking this show. Okay, maybe not vilified. But my husband thinks my attitude borders on being unpatriotic. Personally, I think the Bible does a splendid job of laying out the lessons God wants us to learn, with vivid descriptions and exciting plot twists. I don’t think children need dancing produce to drive the points home. After you read this story, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.

Many years ago, I taught Sunday School. Whichever grade needed a teacher, I stepped up. One year I taught my youngest child Cameron’s class—kindergarten. That is a fun age! Old enough to talk, but still young enough we don’t always understand what they’re trying to say. One Sunday our lesson was about Joshua and the battle of Jericho. In summary, God gives the Israelites the land of Canaan, starting with the walled city of Jericho. Joshua struggles with the task, but in the end, he trusts God. He leads the people of Israel in the attack of Jericho, bringing down the walls with the sound of trumpets. It’s a great lesson in trust and obedience.

On the day of our lesson the sun shone with barely a cloud in the sky, so we took our students outside. We settled on the grass and read from the book of Joshua. The kids answered the questions, proving they’d understood what we’d taught—it’s always wonderful when that happens! As we basked in our children’s brilliance and enjoyed our snack, we spotted our pastor strolling from one building to another. We waved hello and he waved back, intent on his destination. But my co-teacher Tracy went one step further. She decided to impress the pastor.

“Pastor Tom! We’re enjoying our lesson outside today. We’re learning about the battle of Jericho, and how it’s a lesson in trust and obedience to God.”

Our pastor changed course and headed towards us. I sent up a prayer, please let this be the end of this conversation. Please don’t let Tracy make this a show and tell. But God doesn’t always answer prayer in the way we’d like.

“Kids! Who would like to tell Pastor Tom what we’ve learned today?” Most of the children kept silent, including mine. Thank goodness for small favors. But one child, Caleb, decided to take a chance.

“Well, Junior Asparagus likes to hit people and he doesn’t think the stuff at church is much fun. And Bob the Tomato says God’s people don’t do what God wants either. Then they leave the kitchen and go play in the sand. Then they see some giants and they see Larry the Cucumber, and he takes them back home. And then they sing about a hippo. But I don’t think stuff at church is fun either unless we’re singing. But we never sing songs about hippos, like Larry and Bob. Miss Tracy, can we sing about hippos now?”

To say Caleb rendered the adults speechless would be an understatement. It was all I could do to hold back laughter. Pastor Tom said something rather…well, pastor-ly and hurried off. Tracy couldn’t look me in the eye, but that was fortunate. I could only hold back my laughter if she didn’t look me in the eye.

As Cameron and I headed to church he tugged on my hand. “Mom?” I looked down at the child tugging on my hand. “Yes?” His blue eyes gazed back at me with wisdom. “I bet Miss Tracy never tries to impress the pastor again.”