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Brown eggs and moonshine

By George Bowers - gabowers@shentel.net

I'm thankful for the privilege of living in the Shenandoah Valley, for it is full of rich beauty, history, and tradition. God desires to use all of these, in addition to his word, to teach us much about himself, about life, and about ourselves. One such story that we can learn from comes from the history of Fort Valley.

According to several reliable witnesses, there was a gentleman who lived in the Fort who was a rather enterprising individual. He had constructed a still for the manufacture of illegal moonshine,which he then sold to his neighbors. Because the sale of such brew was prohibited by federal law, the public advertisement of such merchandise was obviously out of the question.

He cleverly solved this problem by using another product to send a message that a new batch was ready. Whenever he put the "Brown Eggs for Sale" sign up, everyone knew that it wasn't really about brown eggs. It was about white lightning. Because most of the locals were well acquainted with what the sign meant and because visitors to the Fort were fairly infrequent in those days, he probably had few disappointed customers.

As I recently heard that story retold, it reminded me of the mixed messages that we sometimes send. Because of embarrassment or pride, we often don't let others know what we're truly feeling. Pain and sorrow may actually be advertised as anger or even boldness. Fear and insecurity may come across as humor or sarcasm. And unlike the eggs sign, even people who are well acquainted with us may not be able to understand what our signs really mean.

It's not illegal to be insecure or sorrowful, but it is sinful if we express these feelings in ways that hurt others. Let's ask God for the grace and strength to portray clearly what's going on within us, to not be deceptive and expect others to somehow figure out our code. That way our family and friends will be able to know what they are dealing with and be able to help us in ways that best address our true needs. Let's make sure that "brown eggs" means brown eggs.

Blessings, George.

George Bowers is the Pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of "Blessings," "Valley Verses," and "Valley Verses, Volume 2." He can be reached at gabowers@shentel.net.


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