It happened on a hot sticky summer day, in 1904 at St. Louis World’s Fair. People, walking for hours, were hot and tired. They were yearning for a refreshing treat to cool them off. What was their preferred choice to cool off? Ice cream. That’s why a multitude of ice cream fanatics were lined up at the ice cream booth of Arnold Fornachou.
However, there was a problem. Arnold’s ice cream was so popular he quickly ran out of the paper bowls he was using. Arnold had a problem. People started leaving in droves, searching for another source of refreshment. Was he going to do?
That’s when an unlikely partner emerged. He was an unlikely ‘Solutionary,’ who had a huge problem himself. His name was Ernest Hamwi. He was a pastry chef who had grown up in Damascus, Syria. In the booth next to Arnold’s, he was selling a wafer-thin Persian confection called a zalabia. However, no one was buying them. They were looking for ice cream.
When Ernest discerned his neighbor’s predicament as well as his own predicament, he made a history-making discovery. Grabbing a warm zalabia, he twisted it into a cornucopia shape and rolled it in sugar. Then he ran over to Arnold’s booth and offered it to him. Arnold didn’t understand what the older man had in mind.
But when Ernest handed an ice cream scoop atop a confection cone to a waiting customer, Arnold got the message. In no time at all, the two men were working side by side. Ernest made the edible bowls and Arnold scooped the ice cream. Together they concocted the talk of the 1904 World’s Fair, the World’s Fair Cornucopias. It was a history maker then and still goes on today.
I think I want an ice cream cone right now, how about you? Make it one scoop of chocolate and one scoop of coffee with lots of almonds. If you mix up the two scoops and the almonds inside a waffle cone, you will be happy until the rapture. Whoops…squirrel.
I found this true account in a book entitled, The Power of Partnership in the Church
by John Maxwell. It illustrates a life-lifting strategy for overcoming challenges, problems, and predicaments. In fact, if we can catch what Arnold and Ernest discovered and uncovered, we could end up like one of their customers, eating problems for lunch, then dessert.
Here are some quick thoughts on overcoming challenges. Most times, it’s not what you’re eating that determines your health, it’s what is eating you that determines your health. Note from God: “See those mountains you’re carrying, you were supposed to climb them.” Worry is a hurricane of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear. A leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, “Wrong tree!”
The best strategy I would propose to you for overcoming challenges and problems is in the Scriptures. It’s found at the end of the book of Philippians in Chapter One. This strategy has been proved itself true, over and over, in the test tube of my life as well as many others. Arnold and Ernest used this strategy too.
Here’s how you take a potentially sad song and make it better. Be Consistent.
“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm.” (Philippians 1:27) In other words, never quit, be steady, keep on keeping on. Ernest never quit and became a big shot. Big shots are little shots who just kept shooting. Do what God says is right, and most times it turns out right. I like this thought from someone who knew the end was just a beginning in disguise. “I may look like a potato now, but one day, I'll turn into chips and you'll all want me then.” Be Cooperative.
“…standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith…” Philippians 1:27b. You see that? When you are going through a crisis, you need a team, you need others. You’re going to need encouragement, from others. Ernest needed Arnold and Arnold needed Ernest. Together they moved from trial to triumph. Partnerships solve problems and everyone wins. None of us is as smart as all of us. Cooperation may feel the least comfortable when it is the most necessary. Be Confident.
“…in no way alarmed by your opponents - which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God.” (Philippians 1:28) If you're alarmed by what is challenging you, you will be unarmed by what is challenging you. You see, we all get discouraged from time to time and walk into a jungle of insecurity, doubt, and fear. Ernest looked around and said, “Wrong Jungle!” And, he found the right jungle. Remember, if you keep your confidence, your confidence will keep you. Confidence increases your competence, drastically. Think of it. When you’re singing, “Can’t get no worse, it is hard to say, it’s getting better all the time.” Sound familiar?
What’s your takeaway here? When these three potent, concise, easily applied, ‘strategy ingredients from God’ are mixed together, there will be a day in your life when you say, “We ate problems and challenges for breakfast.”