Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books
4/20/14 at 10:40 PM 0 Comments

Coconut Cake and the Cross

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I enjoy when someone does something nice by giving me something – usually. Occasionally someone has offered me a gift that I didn’t exactly want to accept. I pastored a church once located directly in front of a series of duplex apartments. Several church members lived in that complex so after having visited there numerous times through the years I came to know most of the residents. Some of them were quite colorful characters.

There was Ms. Virgie. She kept a rubber snake in the corner of her living room to “scare away mice.” Across the lawn from her apartment lived Mr. Daniels. He became a Christian and joined our church at the tender age of eighty. Between the two of them lived Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones did not attend our church but almost every time he saw me visiting in the neighborhood he came to visit me. He lived by himself and cooked his own meals. Since he lived alone he often cooked more than he needed so he graciously shared with his neighbors. Many of them said he was a pretty good cook. Periodically he brought me some of his leftovers. I always tried to be gracious but there was one small matter that bothered me. Mr. Jones didn’t appear to be the cleanest fellow I had met. My biggest problem was his love of snuff; the old style powdered tobacco in a can. Mr. Jones dipped, dripped, and drooled. He usually had a good three or four day growth of beard. His whiskers were shiny white except below the corners of his snuff filled lower lip. More than once, I witnessed him wipe snuff from his chin with his bare hand.

One day while I visited Mr. Daniels, Mr. Jones came to see me. With a fresh lip full of snuff he said, “Preacha, do you like coconut cake?” Without giving his question proper thought I answered, “Oh yes sir, I love coconut cake.” He grinned and said, “Well you sit right tight. I just baked a fresh one this morning and I’ll be back in a second.” I nervously protested with a “No that’s not necessary.” I watched as he headed out the door. A few minutes later he returned with my cake – resting directly in the palm of his hand. He placed it my hand and said “Here you go Preacha, I cut you a big ole piece!” As graciously and sincerely as I could I said, “Thank you Mr. Jones. I’m not hungry now so I will take this home with me.” I did exactly what I said; I took it home with me. My golden retriever couldn’t have cared less if that big piece of sweet coconut cake was clean or not. She swallowed the whole thing in one gulp.

Over two thousand years ago Jesus came to visit us. On a hill far away he died. The greatest gift anyone has ever offered to anyone has been made possible because of His bloody sacrifice on the day we call Good Friday. He gave His life so He could give us eternal life. Many have deemed him as incapable of giving such a gift and have refused his offer. Some have simply ignored him and his gift. Of course, each one of us must, and I believe will, decide for himself.

My fear may have caused me to miss out on one of the best pieces of coconut cake ever. Thankfully, my faith did not allow me to do the same with the priceless gift Jesus offers to us.

Dr. Bill King is the powerful writer of the novel But You Shall Receive Power and the creator of the humorous character known as Billy Bob Bohannon. Bill has performed as Billy Bob for churches and civic groups across the nation since 2002. His first book of Billy Bob humor, No, Really, My Name is Brother Billy Bob Bohannon, was published in 2009. The fun continues in his follow-up books, My Name is Still Brother Billy Bob Bohannon and Clean Up the House, Boys, Mama Has Hired a Maid (both OakTara). Billy Bob will have you laughing at his tales, but before you know it, he’ll sneak in a lesson for life. Bill draws from his theological training and years of pulpit ministry but in a way that is not preachy.

You may email the author at or visit his website.

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