A Slice Of Life To Go is an online Christian blog written by Todd Thompson. It encourages people to see the beauty in ordinary moments and to know God’s unconditional, unfailing love in everyday life.

Tell The Whole Story

February 26th, 2008

For Annie and Emma and me, one of our favorite places to eat is Rudy’s BBQ.

My first experience with Rudy’s was in Austin, Texas while visiting with our friends Andy and Lynn Neillie and Ron Sciarro. At Rudy’s, your plate is a sheet of waxed paper spread out on a picnic table. Brisket, ribs, sausage, smoked turkey, all smothered in Rudy’s BBQ Sause (sic). Or for those who can’t handle the regulation flavor, some Rudy’s Sissy Sause.

The philosphy at Rudy’s is summed up in the phrase printed on the back of the employee’s T-shirts. “I didn’t claw my way up the food chain to eat vegetables.”

Is Rudy’s good BBQ? Let’s just say that when I relocated here and saw the Rudy’s sign off Loop 289 I grabbed my cell phone, called Ron back in Phoenix and said, “There is a God in heaven and He loves me.”

As you wind through the line at Rudy’s you walk along big rectangle metal tubs full of ice, packed with sodas and beer. Annie and Emma like to pull out bottles of IBC Root Beer and Cream Soda. The first time they did that and it came time to open them, I walked them over to the opener that was screwed into the wall, right above the mounted box that catches the bottle caps.

“Daddy, what’s this?”

I grew up with openers on the wall and snapping the caps off Coke bottles. It didn’t occur to me that something so old would be so brand new to Annie and Emma.

It set me to thinking about other experiences that my kids will never or likely never have. They will never watch TV around midnight, hear the national anthem played before the screen goes fuzzy white and off the air until morning. They won’t know what it’s like to have to get off the couch to change the channel. And they will never know the anticipation of viewing “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on network television with the understanding that you wouldn’t see it again for a whole year.

They won’t know what it was like to ride in cars that didn’t have seat belts. The first thing they hear from me is, “Buckle up!” When I was their age my sister and I were free to roam the back seat like goats in a pasture. And unless we’re ever passing through Orange City, Iowa and stop at Mulder’s Phillips 66, they won’t ever know what “Full Service” at a gas station means.

The only way Annie and Emma will be aware of what life was like back in the day is if I tell them. Which I do. Bedtime stories always start with Emma saying, “Daddy, tell us about when you were little. Tell us the WHOLE story.” They pull the covers up to their chin and snuggle in, eyes bright with anticipation. And we begin.

“When Daddy was a boy…”

The story is old to me.

Brand new to them.

In the Old Testament book of Judges, we find several brief verses that detail one of the saddest and most tragic downward spirals in all the Bible.

“After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance. The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of 110. And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.

After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what He had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals. They forsook the Lord, the God of their Fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt.”

– Judges 2:6-12

This generation, the ones who didn’t “know the Lord or what He had done for Israel” were the grandchildren of those people God delivered out of 400 years of bondage in Egypt; those who were eyewitness to God parting the Red Sea, providing manna in the wilderness, water from a rock, and whose presence was represented in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

What happened? These people who knew the Lord and saw with their own eyes the miraculous protection and provision of God didn’t tell the whole story. All it takes is one generation to drop the ball, to be silent, and the next generation will know nothing of the Lord and what He has done for us.

Tell the story. Tell it to your kids. Tell it to your friends. Tell it to strangers. Tell the story. Every day. In some form or fashion, tell the story of what God has done in your life. How He has protected and provided. How He has guided and directed. How He has forgiven and forgotten. How He has brought beauty from the ashes. How He has shown Himself faithful when there seemed no hope. How He has done miracles in your life. Most of all, tell the whole story of how He saved you from your death penalty of sin and made you a brand new creation.

We can’t afford to be the generation that drops the ball. The story might be old to us. But it’s brand new to them.

Tell the story.

And as Emma would say, “Make sure it’s the WHOLE story.”

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

– Deuteronomy 4:9

– Todd Thompson, A Slice Of Life To Go