Yesterday in my 8th grade shop classes the students were staining their oak end tables. We spent three days staining 100 of these tables. Finally on the third day the inevitable happened. As one student was repositioning his end table he knocked another student's one quart can of dark walnut wood stain on the floor. The stain splattered everywhere and on everything in a 10 foot radius. If this ever happens to you the first response is to prevent the students from walking away from ground zero which would result in stain being tracked through out the shop. The student whose stain was spilled quickly escaped ground zero to get something to begin cleaning up the mess before the wrath of Mr. Wiemers was released. After having left walnut foot prints all the way to the sink and back, she returned to ground zero with two paper towels.
It was at this point I realized I was observing a future sermon illustration. This poor student was going to try to hold off my anger, disappointment and frustration by bringing two inadequate paper towels to clean up a quart of walnut stain pooled up on the floor and splattered in every direction. Not to mention, in her attempt to help, she had tracked the stain across the shop and back and others were preparing to follow her. The usefulness of this illustration is enormous and its application will surely be used some Sunday morning.
It did remind me of the time a friend of mine cut his thumb off on the table saw in high school. With the student's thumb laying on the table saw the teacher that day said, "I'll go get a band-aid," and then left to locate a bandaid!? Both paper towels and band-aids are useful but not when we are dealing with a quart of walnut stain and a severed thumb.