I have a package of mints in my purse. Mints are very important for those spontaneous ministry times in the prayer room where I want to give someone the word of the Lord, but not give them olfactory information regarding my last meal (or lack thereof — beware of fasting breath). I recently started using a particular kind of mints that comes in a round box. When I was opening the first package of them, I noticed that it had two flip-top lids, situated across from each other. I thought that was a bit odd. Why would one need two ways to open the package? I looked at them closer, discovering them to be different sizes. One is large, opening up almost a full half of the tin. The other is a small opening just big enough to let one mint out through it. The large one is labeled “to share”, and the small one, logically, “not to share”.
I could conceptualize the logic behind the setup. If you’re passing the tin around to your friends, it’s easy to let them reach in and take a mint or two from the big end. If it’s just you, you only need to get out one mint, so you use the small flap. It still seemed kind of silly and excessive to me, but oh well, it’s the mint people’s box design, and they can do what they want with it.
Here’s the thing; this mint box has become an unintentional object lesson. It is so much easier to get a mint out when you use the “to share” side. You flip the lid, you reach in, and take a mint. Snap, grab, snap. You’re done.
The “not to share” side, however, poses a problem. Its shape is designed to let only one mint out at a time. But you cannot reach in to go get the mint. You must make the mint come out to you. So rather than just grabbing a piece, you invert the box and catch the mint as it comes out.
Of course, that’s assuming that the mints are situated in such a way that they will not get jammed coming through that little flap. If they get stuck, you have to turn the box right side up again, turn it back, and hope that it works this time. So rather than “snap, grab, snap,” your mint-getting experience is more like, “snap, flip, (silence), flip, flip, (more silence), flip, shake, flip, clatter, scramble” (the last part is when more than one mint actually comes out and you have to try not to drop any — which is, of course, followed by the “plink, plink” of putting the extras back).
If you are sitting in a worship service or prayer room, your neighbor can either hear “snap, grab, snap,” or the whole series of noises I won’t repeat again — the latter of which is much more annoying, and to top it off, only calls to attention the fact that you have decided “not to share” with him/her.
So the moral of the story is that, when you have the choice, opt “to share”. You’ll be glad you did.