Column by Sumter Pastor Clay Smith: Possibilities...


Breakfast is my favorite meal. It was my mother's favorite meal, too. Nobody cooks breakfast the way she did anymore. There would be a pot of grits on the back burner, stirred every minute or so. My mother made perfect grits: not too runny, not too lumpy. Her grits were just the right consistency, so if you threw them at the wall, they would stick and slowly run down to the floor.

Momma would fry bacon, then fry our eggs in bacon grease. She never flipped her eggs, but she would take her spatula and gently flip up some hot grease on top of the eggs. The whites were crispy, and the yolks were firm, with just a touch of yellow liquid spilling out.

I know there are people who eat their grits and their eggs separately; these are people who were not raised right. Putting a dab of real butter (margarine is of the devil) on our grits, we would slide the fried eggs up on top, then mash them together in a beautiful chaos. Applying salt and pepper, we would mix it all again and have the perfect combination. All that was topped off with homemade biscuits, butter and guava jelly. After a breakfast like that, you were ready for the day.

I miss breakfast like that.

Not too long ago, I went with my children, their spouses and my grandson out for brunch. To me, brunch is breakfast delayed. There were strange things on the menu, like eggs benedict, vegetarian egg white omelets and whole-wheat pancakes served with turkey bacon. There was even avocado toast. I like avocados, and I like toast, but putting them together was not in my wheelhouse.

I admit I have eaten eggs benedict. It is pretty good, especially when they go heavy on the hollandaise sauce. I have avoided vegetarian egg white omelets and whole-wheat pancakes so far. I have eaten turkey bacon, but I can report it does not taste like turkey or bacon. Turkey is for gravy and sandwiches; bacon is meant to come from pigs.

Once, when overseas, I was served beef tongue for breakfast. I love beef, but I know where a cow's tongue has been, so no, thank you. In college, cold pizza was allowed for breakfast in an emergency. Doughnuts do not count as a real breakfast, no protein. Same thing with Pop-tarts. Pastries are a good breakfast, but only in France, where the pastries not only melt in your mouth, they melt your soul.

As delicious as my mother's breakfasts were, there are more possibilities for breakfast in this world than grits, fried eggs, bacon and biscuits. I have to be wise enough to appreciate what was given to me without judging what other people chose.

I believe our God is a god of possibilities. He gives us a start with our families, but part of his will for our lives is to take a journey with him, to discover more outside our comfort zones. Growth, especially spiritual growth, is always accompanied by discomfort. When you begin to follow Jesus, you find more beyond your small corner of the world and your small understanding.

I was once invited to participate in a funeral in Botswana. I was there on a short-term mission trip, and a beloved member of the church had died. No one told me, however, that funerals began in the darkness of the early morning hours, so I had to be up and dressed at 4:30 a.m. Who ever heard of having a funeral so early? We conducted the service in the pre-dawn darkness, then made our way to the cemetery as the sky began to brighten. When sunrise broke over the horizon, we were standing by the hole in the cemetery, singing songs of praise. I could not help but think, "This is so right. For a follower of Jesus, death is the dawning of eternal life. We should sing songs of praise as the sun comes up." My soul opened to new possibilities that day.

Ephesians 3:20-21 says, "20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen." Pray for God to open your eyes to possibilities. Pray for God to do more than you can ask or even imagine. Ask this for yourself and for your city. God is the God of possibility.

God might even open you to the possibility that whole-wheat pancakes are tasty.

The Rev. Dr. Clay Smith is the lead pastor of Alice Drive Baptist Church in Sumter. Email him at