Le Petit Baton Rouge
When you step out of your vehicle at Avery Island, a sharp pungent odor burns your nostrils. It is the smell of hot red peppers in the drifting in the air. You’re at the home of Tabasco Hot Sauce.
A few years ago while touring the Tabasco plant, I first saw the red stick shown in the picture. Our tour guide explained about “le petit baton rouge”* as it is called in French (or “the little red stick” in English.)
Every pepper picker for Tabasco carries a stick like this in their hand. As they harvest the peppers, they use the little red stick to ensure they are picking the pepper at the exact color shown on the stick. When the pepper is at this redness, it is perfectly ripe to give the exact taste needed to produce the Tabasco taste that millions enjoy daily.
This stick, painted this very particular shade of red is used as the standard for picking. Picked too early when they are still green, or too late after they’ve lost some flavor, is not acceptable. The pickers carefully compare the fruit on their bush to the red stick.
Here’s a neat application to le petit baton rouge:
As the world looks at the followers of Jesus, they are seeking to see a difference in our lives that is caused by our Savior. Here is what they are looking for: a simple word called love.
When folks look at our lives, they will compare our lives to the teachings and love of Jesus. In other words, they compare our fruit to the le petit baton rouge of the teachings of Jesus.
Jesus very clearly emphasized the defining mark (or color) of a Christian in John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
There it is: the fruit of my life as a follower of Jesus is to be the color of love. A love that begins by loving those around me as in “love one another. . . ”
…And His Color is always love.