Colossians 4:17 (NIV)
"See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.”
I bought a small pair of salad servers. I have two other larger pairs, but I needed a small pair. It’s much easier to do something with the right size tools. I like to enjoy the tools I’m using – whether it’s kitchen tools like pretty glassware or useful appliances; drills for structural work; secateurs in the garden. It doesn’t matter - it’s so much more pleasant when you use the right tools for the job.
At the moment I’m thinking about my small salad servers and how grateful I am they’re the right size for my needs. At first, I thought they were crystal. When I texted my mother with a picture she thought they were plastic! Do you know what? They’re actually glass. How different things can look to different people, or in different lights, or with different backgrounds.
These salad servers wouldn’t be everyone’s pick. They’re vintage, and at one point in my life I wouldn’t have picked them. I would have indulged myself in the most glamourous things I could find, not sparing the expense. Statement pieces. That’s what I was looking for!
Now-a-days, I don’t mind worn, pre-loved things that still have life in them and don’t cost me a sacrifice. I’m still particular and I still like to admire pretty things. But, I appreciate things that look like they’ve been treasured by someone, and can now be treasured by me. I like things that tell a story. I don't enjoy so much generic things that anyone can pick up in any store. Some people like that. Maybe you do. New. Never been used. Trendy, ‘now’ designs. Or, maybe you like extremely practical things that will be affordable and just-not-break, and who cares what they look like? For me, I like to personalise things. Part of what I enjoy is that no one else has something quite like what I have!
Inside, where it counts, we’re all a bit like that about ourselves. We want to know we’re unique. We want to know that we have a story to share which can be treasured; and it can be painful when we feel used up, beat up, worn down and less attractive than when we were young---er.
But it’s all in the perspective, isn’t it?
Take the background I’ve placed my salad servers on, here. They look different on this background than the darker background, above. On a paler background, they blend in more because they’re already quite transparent. If you didn’t know they were there and you just glanced at them quickly, concentrating on something else, you may not even notice them. We feel like that sometimes – passed by, unnoticed, under-valued – but we’re still there. And we’re still the same.
We may feel like glass – maybe a bit breakable; decent but not as valuable as crystal. Someone else may think we’re like crystal because they can see our value. Or less kindly, others may label us ‘plastic’. It doesn’t mean we are.
At one point in my life I would have been tortured if someone said something about me that wasn't either accurate or complimentary. Or both. I would have wanted to be perceived as crystal even if I were plastic!
We are, in fact, a tool for a purpose, that God’s created and now chosen, for a reason.
That’s why He created us in a very particular way. We may try and look like crystal when we’re only glass. We may seem plastic at times, but maybe that comes from how worn we’ve become from the world around us, from other people’s rub, or our own experiences.
God wants us to recognise who He created us to be. He wants us to recognise and embrace our original, authentic self. HE wants to 'recognise' us, and say, “Yes! THIS is who you are”. Glass, crystal, durable plastic, it doesn’t matter what other people think – it’s what God thinks and what God says, that matters.
That may sound trite. But do you know why it’s true?
Being and doing what God has chosen for us, if we value that, is the only way we will feel whole, fulfilled, complete, purposeful and treasured. It’s the only way we will achieve without feeling insecure, breakable, or striving to be recognised. Most importantly, it's the only way that what we do will have eternal value.
I left school before I got my UE. I couldn't find myself and wasn't confident. I didn't think I had much to offer and so I ended up not offering much. But I had a lot to offer, I just didn't have someone to steer me towards something I really loved or would have felt fulfilled working towards. I have always been a creative, but I ended up being steered into administration. The fit couldn't have been worse. The decade that followed seemed like a complete waste.
Let me encourage you right now. Be the salad servers God has created you to be because He’s the one who designed you and the purpose you’re on this earth. Embrace the material God’s placed in your hands. He will be able to bless the work of your hands and feed people with the salads that only you can toss up.
When we embrace who He has created us to be, and use what He has put in our hands, we can embrace His greatness in us. He is able to do more in our lives than what we can ever imagine possible.
Deuteronomy 28:12 (NASB)
The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless every work of your hand…
Prayer: Lord, I repent for disclaiming your claim on my life, and for not embracing myself for the special creation you've made me. I thank you for creating me the way I am, with a specific use and to fulfill a specific purpose. I am here for a reason because you said so. I'm ready to embrace myself as the person you've made me. Open up your good storehouse over me, give rain to my land in its season. I ask that as I use the tools you've placed in my hands, bless my mind and the work of my hands to fulfill your will for my life. In Jesus Name, Amen.