One Sunday morning, a hard-boiled egg walked into a small Baptist church. It was cleverly disguised to look like a girl in a flowered dress with long, reddish-brown hair, and no one suspected the truth, least of all the egg itself. I know, for I was the egg.
Oh, I looked so perfect on the outside! Smooth and poised, and I would stay that way because my shell saw to that. And inside I was quite firm. I knew what I believed, and how a Christian should live. I was visiting my grandmother’s church with the purpose of worshiping God.
I eyed the front pew with distaste. Several teenagers were crowded into it, laughing and talking. Didn’t they know church isn’t merely a social gathering place? Why aren’t young people more committed to God? I thought, frustrated. They were certainly typical worldly, noisy teenagers. A boy with an earring, a girl with unnaturally orange-red hair, another girl wearing a shirt I wouldn’t be caught dead in, and several others. Of course they all sat together for more convenient flirting, I thought disdainfully. I’m glad I’m not like that!
The service began, and I joined in the singing and prayers. When it was time to greet each other, I stood there waiting. I was a visitor, so it was the church members’ duty to come to me. One of the first was the immodest girl from the front pew. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, was my thought, and my handshake was anything but hearty. But her smile was genuine. So was the voice that said, “Thank you for coming!”
During the sermon, I stole a glance at the teenagers again. No longer noisy, they were listening with rapt attention. Mr. Earring sat with bowed head, emotions playing on his young face. One girl glowed with joy. Another was nodding in understanding. They were like sponges, soaking in the life-giving words of truth that I let roll off my shell. Maybe I’m being a little too harsh, I admitted. Just because they don’t look like me doesn’t mean they are reprobates! Was that a hairline crack in my shell?
When the invitation was given, Mr. Earring went forward. Apparently a new Christian, he wanted to join the church. Tears welled up in my eyes as I saw his earnestness. The crack was widening, and God’s love began to seep in. For a moment I saw the person He saw in that young man. Sure, he had a long way to go. But so do I. And it’s only God’s grace that allowed me to have a godly upbringing.
Later that week Granny and another lady from her church were talking. My ears caught something about the young people on the front row. “I think it’s so wonderful,” Granny was saying, “the way they all come to church together. Since none of them have Christian parents, they support each other.”
“Yes,” agreed Mrs. Jackson. “And they sit on the front row so that they will pay attention to the sermon and not get distracted.”
Now I was truly ashamed of my former thoughts. How could I judge them when I had no idea what they faced? I hadn’t even bothered to pray for them. My shell broke completely, and to my surprise I found out I wasn’t as hard inside as I thought. God was able to transform a hard-boiled egg into . . . a sponge.