Pastor’s ponderings

My family was recently doing some cleaning in our basement, and while we were restacking boxes and storage containers, we happened upon one that we had not touched in quite some time.  This particular reinforced plastic container holds the heirloom family dishes that had been passed down to us, just as they had from prior generations (and which will one day be passed down to our son’s family as well).  In seeing this box and the beautiful plates and bowls contained within it, I couldn’t help but to stop and ponder something.

            In 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Paul writes: “In a large house there are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary.  All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work” (NRSV).  Herein Paul notes that, just as we may find in our kitchens and basements, there are often two separate sets of serving ware that we utilize.  Some for special use, but others that we use on a regular daily basis.  We use one set over and over again, perhaps three times every day for our regular meals, only pulling out the special set for the rare family get-togethers like the grand Thanksgiving meal.

            But, of course, Paul wasn’t referring to dinner dishes, was he?  He was using this analogy to talk about our faith.  In his mind, we are constantly using the ordinary things, when we should be using the special ones more frequently than the ordinary.  In fact, he suggests, the special should become our primary, and eventually the only, set of things that are ever used.

            Think about it this way.  Do we only do what we do for God on Sunday and then revert back to the ways of the world the rest of the week?  Do we only pull out the special dinnerware for the meal with Jesus during Communion on Sunday morning?  Paul says, No, of course not!  We should regularly be putting forth our best in all that we do, on every occasion, no matter how simple or ordinary it may seem.  Tuesday’s family breakfast is just as important.  Friday’s dinner with friends is just as important.  Saturday’s community brunch is just as important.  For these are all opportunities for seeing how God has been at work every day since Sunday.  They are times in which we recognize how special life and the things that we encounter in it truly are.  There is nothing ordinary in the extraordinary journey of faith.  There is nothing common in the uncommon way in which God has called us to walk alongside our brothers and sisters in the Kingdom.  There is no such thing as the usual, for everything we do as Christians should be unusual in comparison with the way the rest of the world seems to treat one another.

            In the infamous 23rd Psalm (The Lord is my shepherd…), there is a verse which proclaims, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” What do you think that table looked like?  Is it common and ordinary, or something special to behold?  Is it set with paper plates, plastic utensils, and red disposable cups, or the finest table settings in the Kingdom?   God has always presented us with the most splendid things imaginable.  So, perhaps today we should all be pondering – are we doing the same?  In loving God and neighbor, are we always preparing the table with our very best, or just something that will get us by?

                                                                                    Always pondering,

                                                                                    Pastor Steve

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