Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup!

When I was a kid, I was given a book of “Waiter” jokes.

  • Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.
    Don’t worry, sir.  He won’t drink much.
  • Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup.
    Quiet, sir.  Everyone will want one.
  • Waiter, what is this fly doing in my soup?
    I believe it’s the backstroke, sir.

This and the “Bob Vlasic’s Pickle Joke Book…guaranteed to pickle your funny bone!“, may explain my very warped sense of humor.  Admittedly, waiter jokes are not exactly hilarious…most of them are not even mildly amusing; however,

there is a quality about them that captures my interest.  As a customer, I can understand the all-consuming hysteria that is created by having a fly in my soup.  This is unacceptable!  I paid good money for this meal and, by golly, this will cost him his tip!

Waiter etiquette dictates that he should obsequiously apologize, take the soup off our bill AND replace it with a new one.  But this waiter does none of those things.  Instead, he surprises us with a new perspective – “This is a good thing!  Others wish they were in your position!” We were sure that the fly spelled the end of our world and now we are forced to look at the humor of the situation and accept it.

I realize that fly-in-my-soup jokes are just that – jokes!  But I actually see some similarities between my life and this insect incident.  When I get behind the slowest driver known to mankind or when the boss says the project is due tomorrow instead of next week, there’s a fly in my soup! Don’t kid yourself – if you get a ticket instead of a warning; if your appointment gets re-scheduled – even though you re-arranged your whole day around it, there’s a fly in your soup too!

This reminds me of a couple of people in the Bible.


Moses is standing beside a non-burning bush on Mt. Horeb and God says, “I want you to go to Pharaoh and tell him to ‘Let My people go!’”  Moses’ response was, “God, I can’t.  There’s a fly in my soup!” (Exodus 3-4)

Ok, he doesn’t exactly say that, but the result is the same.  Moses complains,

I don’t talk no good
The people will never believe me ’cause I had to run away from Egypt
Send someone else instead

With every excuse God provides an answer that is summed up this way – I have chosen you and others will wish they were in your place.  As Moses begins to deal with the “fly in his soup”, we find him described as the meekest man on the earth (Numbers 12:3).  God used these ‘deficiencies’ of Moses to develop his character and make him more effective than a wandering shepherd should have been.


Look at the disciples in Matthew 9:23-27.  They are all in the boat with Jesus and suddenly a tremendous storm crashes in on them.  They are scared to death and they look over at Jesus – Who is sleeping comfortably – and cry out, “Jesus, can’t you see there’s a fly in our soup?” Now, if I were Jesus, I would probably be laying there pretending to be asleep, watching the drama through squinty eyes!  Either way, Jesus goes on to show them that the ‘fly in their soup’ is really an opportunity for Him to demonstrate His power – not only over wind and wave – but in their individual lives as well.

The next time we find a fly in our soup, that is, in a situation that we don’t like and didn’t ask for, perhaps we should look around and see if we can take the waiter’s more positive perspective.  Chances are, God is just about to point out something of value that we need to learn.

Open Mic:  Share your thoughts

  1. What’s the latest “fly” for which you have had to contend?
  2. How can a new perspective improve your situation?
– Michael G
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