“But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8
Strange things happen when you’re doing dishes. Or at least for me they do. Yesterday I was doing dishes at my brother’s new house. My second younger brother is getting married next month and needed some help settling in. So there I was…washing new dishes and putting them into clean cabinets.
New dishes mean one thing…sticky price tags. All of them screaming to be removed. I must have peeled and scraped and scrubbed fifty stickers off. They are very persistent little things and yet so rewarding. The first dozen or two gave me a feeling of satisfaction when the dishes were smooth and clean. It made me feel good.
Then it started getting boring. Monotonous. Even agitating at times. So I started thinking…what lesson could I learn from this? When I begin asking myself questions like this, I know I am really grasping at straws, but it was starting to get on my nerves…this whole sticker business! I needed to walk away with more than a stack of smooth-bottomed plates and bowls, I wanted some spiritual food for thought!
Then it came to me. Or HE did. All these beautiful dishes are worthless if they stay boxed up, wrapped up, and stickered up. To be useful they must be unwrapped and ready on a shelf for easy access. I won’t eat a bowl of cereal from a bowl that is in a box of styrofoam peanuts and wrapped up in age-old newspaper. No! I need them available. I need them at my fingertips. I need them unstickered.
Wow! That truth got me right between the eyes. Maybe God was standing there at the sink with me, whispering truths into my soul. I heard Him stirring my heart to see myself in those stickered plates. How often was I the one staying packaged up? It got me thinking. Staying packed up doesn’t change my value. It changes my usefulness. I can be a lovely glass in a box, carefully wrapped up and protected from any danger… Or I can be a beautiful pitcher that is used for His glory.
Maybe it is my fears holding me back from doing bigger things for God. Perhaps in an effort to protect myself, I peek out from the safety of my styrofoam peanut-bedded box and shiver. “Not me, Lord. Can you pick someone else? How about that sturdy looking plate over there? You know how easily I can chip!” So I stay in the comfort of my newspaper padding and never grace the table of my King. I am valued, but not useable.
Standing there at the sink suddenly became therapy. I felt tears welling up in my eyes. A prayer bubbled up in my heart. “Lord, I want to be used. Unwrap me. Wash me. Unsticker me. Please…use me. If I chip, still put me on Your table. If I crack, mend me. If I break, heal me…but Father, please use me.” I felt the words of Isaiah pouring from my soul… “Here am I Lord, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
I want to be useable. I want to be available. Some days that may mean leading a Bible study or tutoring a child in math skills for the glory of God. My work can become my worship, if my heart is toward Him. Some days that may mean teaching children at a kindergarten class or listening to piano students plunk out their pieces. Other days it might be cleaning up vomit or folding ten loads of laundry. Yesterday it meant scrubbing stickers off new dishes.
Friend, God has the perfect place in His heavenly cabinet for you. It’s a place that you will be available…right at His fingertips. To get there you have to get out of that styrofoam-coated comfort and leave the packing box behind. You have to give up the stickers and be willing to be chipped. It means being vulnerable. It means being subject to the dangerous air…but you can do it in His strength! I think I want to leave the box behind and be unstickered in the cabinet of Jesus. Will you join me?