Death by chocolate
A number of years ago I was in Wellington, New Zealand, spending time with friends I had known for many years. Driving along the shore, they pointed out a new shop with this intriguing title, “Death By Chocolate.” We didn’t go in, although I was tempted.
During a later visit, we made the same journey and my friends pointed out that the shop had closed. I have wondered ever since whether it was because all their customers had died from eating chocolate…or whether the shop had died because they had not.
(Sorry, but at this point I can’t help digressing since even mentioning chocolate is nostalgic for me. You see, as I understand it, when my father was courting my mother, he used to buy her boxes of “Terry’s” [name of the manufacturer] chocolate. For some unknown reason, when he registered my birth he put “Terence” on the certificate as my first name. Years later when I told my mother that the birth certificate–by now in my possession–said “Terence,” she denied it and said I was registered as “Terry” and that, if that was not the case, my father had made a mistake. I am starting to realize just why I may feel confused at times!).
But, back to “Death By Chocolate”…
I wonder what your preference is in chocolates. Personally I prefer dark (so called bitter) chocolate to the milk variety. I guess that is because my mother always preferred it, too. Then, what about the fillings (of the chocolates themselves, not to be confused with the damage they cause to the fillings of teeth!)?
My preference is for hard or chewy centers. Maybe some of you prefer the soft, creamy centers.
What we can be sure of is that people differ in their tastes. To mix metaphors and quote a cliché, “one man’s meat is another man’s poison.” Woe betides the manufacturer who is only prepared to create and sell one specific type of chocolate. Diverse people demand diverse products. Specialization will certainly attract aficionados, but if the goal is to maximize profits, there seem to be only two choices available: manufacture a greater product range…or, try to persuade as many people as possible that your single preferred product is attractive.
Now the parable starts to clarify. Which of the two choices will insure the most profit…offering a variety of chocolates so that they can purchase which they prefer, or trying to persuade people that their preference should be your preference?
Too much of the same can cause nausea and put people off chocolate altogether.
Is it – even faintly – possible that, even though our goal is secure the best possible profit for the kingdom (as many people saved as possible before Jesus comes again), we may not realize that level of profit if, in trying to attract and hold people, we insist that their preference should be our preference?
It’s worth thinking about if “Death by Chocolate” is not to become a reality in some of our settings.