Hope Above the Headlines
'Insights and inspiration from
the Bible on world events'

A Fish Story
By Jerry Brecheisen

Obituaries are never an easy read. It's not just that the type size is usually smaller than corneal implants on a flea; the numbers, names, and words represent both the best and the worst of someone's life-all in the same column.

An obituary in yesterday's newspaper added another dimension: frustration. Eighty-seven-year-old "Mrs. Paul" passed on. The famous frozen flounder founder set sail for the next world. From a $350 investment, "Mrs. Paul" formed a company that saw sales top $100 million in one year alone.

The numbers and words were thought-provoking. The frustration came from the fact that "Mrs. Paul's" first name was EDWARD. It was all a "fish story!" For years, I've sat down to meals supposedly prepared by a salty, if not saintly, elderly woman. All along, the fortunate fisherperson was not a woman at all.

"She" was a "He." Edward Piszek. An alumnus of the Campbell Soup Company's college of canning, "Mrs. (Edward) Paul" launched a thousand ships and eased the fears of a thousand cows or more. One good catch and a multitude of beefy bovines had their scheduled departures commuted to life without parole.

Edward's corporate charade has made me suspicious about other culinary characters: Uncle Ben and Aunt Jemima? Mrs. Smith? Betty Crocker? Mrs. Fields? Little Debbie? That Pillsbury fellow? Are these trusted dinner companions simply a figment of someone's entrepreneurial imagination? Say it isn't so. I feel so used! I've been loyal to those food folks over the years.

Taken them in from the cold and given them a home. Spared them the embarrassment of being "on the shelf." Recommended them to my friends.

The fact is there is a real person behind every personalized product, whether it's a fish or a Fig Newton. Its credibility rises or falls on the efforts and effectiveness of the person behind the brand. For example, when it comes to stain remover, Christianity is top of the line. Why: Because its effectiveness comes from the efforts of the person behind it-Christ. The Spotless One who was sent from heaven to take away the sin-stains of earth.

No "fish story" there. He put His name on the line to offer something for free that was too costly to buy. Romans 5:8, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

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