Waterloo, Iowa, Black Hawk County 4-H, August 2, 1996. Eleven-year-old Drew Hoppenworth decided to make a pie to be sold at the 4-H fair. He thought, “If no one raises money, there won’t be a 4-H fair.” So Drew raised some — $740 to be exact. Here’s the skinny.
Pie making was risky. Suppose the pie wasn’t baked right and it was soupy? Overdone? Dry? And crossing gender lines was Ify also – women and girls make pies, not men or boys.
No one was home to coach his first voyage into pie-dom, but Gramma Hoppenworth was reachable by phone, so it was a go.
Drew’s first attempt flopped because he didn’t peel the apples. He moved on to apricots, since that was the only fruit left in the kitchen.
After struggling with the crust, which he had to roll out five times before getting a piece without any tears, he was on his way. Some sugar and a few spices, Drew filled the crust and baked his pie.
Mom and Dad debated whether to even send their son’s pie to the auction. Parents are in a delicate situation when their child is vulnerable. What if no one buys their son’s pie?
Steve & Patty Hoppenworth decided they would buy it. $65. The family left for the auction, concerned about what was ahead.
Disappointment spread over Drew’s face when he saw that his parents bought his pie.
The next pie after Drew’s sold for $500. So Steve took a risk – the momentum of the auction swept them along — by returning Drew’s pie to the auction block. In the second offering, it was the last pie up for sale.
Again, the big question was, “Would it sell?” It did. For $500. That buyer also donated it back for re-re-sale and it sold again for $100.
Patty said, “As I was sitting there, it dawned on me that it did not matter about the pie at all. It was the effort, the cause, the goal of having 4-H for kids that was being sold. I stopped worrying about what the pie might taste like.”
The apricot pie that almost stayed home made a fourth trip across the auction block for a final $75 bringing the grand total to $740.
His parents discounted the suggestion that it was pastry perfection that puffed up the price. Dad Steve said, “This whole thing isn’t about his baking expertise, which is suspect. It’s about the spirit.”
Let’s move on to a few suggestions about your next “pie:”
First Pie All pie-makers make a first pie. A first science project, sing a first solo or first sermon. Everybody has a first everything.
Don’t Quit When the apple pie flopped, Drew didn’t quit or use that as an excuse to not contribute anything to the 4-H Fair. Christians don’t quit either.
Use What You’ve Got When all he had was apricots, he used them. And God accepts our “pie” from whatever materials are available since He is focused on our hearts, not the pie itself.
It is not what you’d do if a million fell to your lot,
It’s what you are doing with the dollar and a quarter you’ve got.
Truth Dawns Mrs. Hoppenworth thought, “It dawned on me [Luke 9:45] that it did not matter what the pie was like at all. I stopped worrying about what if someone tasted it.” As we get older, see more, experience more and walk with God we become more secure by “truth dawning.” By realizing that as we humbly serve God, He accepts our person, service and effort, and we stop worrying about someone tasting it (“Did I do it just right?” “Was it good enough?”)
As Parents are to their Child, so is God to those parents. Steve & Patty were protective of their son so they were going to cover the what-if-no-one-buys-it scenario. God has put that attitude in parents because that is His attitude toward His own. He watches over the fledgling efforts of His children, delighting in their effort and heart attitude. No one cares what the first pie tastes like (one improves in pie-making with experience).
You want to share the Gospel with a friend? But you are paralyzed with fear? “What if I do not say it just right?” “What if they ask questions I can’t answer?”
Face your pride about wanting to have the right answer as sin, face your fear as faithlessness and share as best you can, leaving your “pie” to God.