The hot dog of destiny

hotdogI recently had two seemingly unrelated events that managed to comingle and gel into one cohesive concept, at least in my mind. Let’s see if you agree…

Event 1: I left home for a conference in Virginia and forgot my phone. Yes, I actually forgot to pack or carry my cell phone when I departed for the airport. Before I left, however, I texted my buddy, DJ, to check in and see how he was doing. I’ve known him since I was 18 (28 years) and he’s been a central figure in my adult life. He’s an interesting cat: legendary running backs coach, oil man, entrepreneur, mighty Christian, sage. When I was finally reunited with my phone about 10 days later, I saw his response to my “how’s it going?” text. It was (I’m paraphrasing):

God is too good to me. I manage to cause all my own problems.

Event 2: My family and I visited the Cape May County Zoo yesterday. We had a wonderful time and, while we were there, we had hotdogs. As I was finishing my daughter’s dog (it is my job to finish all uneaten foods when we dine out; I bear this cross with quiet fortitude), it occurred to me that I only like hotdogs some of the time. For example, at a baseball game there is no greater food. At a restaurant, on the other hand, a hotdog wouldn’t be my first choice for an entrée.

The result: Let’s put these two events together in an extended metaphor. Be patient; we have a destination.

I was at a restaurant and ordered a hotdog. After ordering, my companions mention that maybe a hotdog was not the best choice. I could have selected a more healthy option. I then second guess my order and think that maybe I should have gone with a burrito; I always like burritos. I begin to stew about my order and decide that I never wanted a hotdog in the first place. By the time it arrives, I’m so dissatisfied that I don’t even want it. I am hungry, though, so I take a tentative bite. As expected, it’s not that tasty. I don’t like the consistency and the bun has sesame seeds. Who puts sesame seeds on a hotdog bun? I decide this is a complete disaster and begin contemplating a second order even though I have food right in front of me. My attitude sours. How can I be expected to eat this disgusting hotdog? I deserve better!

Here’s where I’m headed… one of the most common questions I hear from Christians is this: “What does God want me to do with my life?” The unstated follow-on statement is often, “Surely it’s not the job I’m doing now!” Here’s my answer: God wants you to put him first, to love those around you, and share your testimony — the story of your unique relationship with his son, Jesus. Just because you have a hotdog, it does not mean that you should order the burrito. If God wants you to have a burrito, he’ll tell you when you should change your entrée. Just listen.

For now, enjoy your hotdog. Be happy where you are and don’t cause your own problems. Bon appétit!

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About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
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