I was a not-so-humble 15-year-old when an Italian couple hired me to help in their bakery. My first customer of the day pointed to a display case stocked with chocolate-glazed donuts. “I’ll take a dozen.”
I pulled the tray toward me and rested it on my knee. The first and second donuts made it into the white paper bag. On the third donut, I lost my balance. When I grabbed the counter to steady myself, the tray slid off my knee and flipped upside down, clanging louder on the tile floor than a fire station’s alarm bell. Twenty donuts lay smashed beneath the pan. I chased the last one as it rolled across the floor and came to rest on top of the Italian wife’s foot.
Pushing back the hairnet that had slid into my eyes, I swiped at the chocolate smeared across my white apron. “Let me see if there’s more in the back,” I said. Anxious to escape, I turned toward the kitchen and shoved through the swinging doors.
Without looking through their small round window to the other side.
Thumpf. The baker and his pan of strawberry bear claws sailed across the room.
“Ohmygosh. I’m sorry,” I said, grabbing rolls off the floor.
“Don’t worry,” the baker reassured me. “I’m baking more.” Then, he pointed to two decorated cakes sitting near the industrial-sized ovens. “Here, carry these out front and box them.”
With a cake poised on each palm, I opened the left swinging door with my hip and shoved the right side with my foot. The chocolate birthday cake made it through unscathed. The triple-tiered, wedding one did not. The swinging door snapped backwards like a sling shot, crushing butter cream roses and slicing a one-inch wedge out of the bottom tier.
I stared at the cake with eyes widened to the size of donuts. I had cost the baker a chunk of his livelihood, and it wasn’t even 8 AM yet. Why would he want to keep me?
The baker reached for the damaged cake. In a voice warmer than the oven-heated air that smelled of fresh-baked bread, he said, “Give it to me. I can fix it like new. Go help the customers.”
With the wave of his hand, he forgave me and sent me back to work. In the baker’s words, I heard Christ’s words to all who made mistakes, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:11, NKJV). Now I got it. I understood for the first time the look of God’s forgiveness.
“Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him…” (Psalm 32:2, NIV)
©2011 Gloria Ashby. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail.