“I should have NEVER agreed to do this,” I said to myself as I drove into downtown Wilmington Thursday afternoon. Earlier in the week I had accepted the invitation of Rev. Ernie Thompson to be his guest at the annual First Presbyterian Men’s Oyster Roast. The only problem was that I have never tried those slippery, soupy molluscs. Driving with Ernie to the oyster roast I was really nervous. “What happens if I throw up…or gag…or do something equally embarrassing in front of all the men of First Pres Wilmington,” I thought to myself?
Arriving at the oyster roast I could feel my heart beating a little faster. Ernie took me out back, introducing me to the brave souls in charge of steaming the oysters. Looking at those calcified shells I realized the truth of the words of Johnathan Swift who purportedly said: “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster.”
Within a few minutes Ernie and I stood in front of a long table with a mount of steaming oyster shells ready to be cracked open. The moment of truth had arrived. I swallowed hard, knifed open a shell, liberally dipped the gooey slug in hot sauce and proceeded to eat my very first oyster. And guess what? It tasted great! To my great surprise, I discovered I liked oysters!
I guess it’s a good that I like oysters given that I now live in the Wilmington area because there are a lot of oyster shacks in this sea-side city. What is far better, however, is that I took the risk to try something new. I think taking risks is part of what makes for a life well lived. When I read the story of Jesus in the gospels I’m struck by how often Jesus invites his followers to take risks. Shortly before Peter walks on water, Jesus says: “Take courage, it is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27).
If you are reading this blog and up for a little risk-taking, ask yourself: Where might the Lord be whispering in my ear: “Take courage…don’t be afraid.” Faith is always found at the intersection of fear and trust. So is the Lord! So is my new-found love of oysters! Thanks Ernie!