Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)
Some time ago I was visiting with some friends for a Bible study. We were about to have some refreshments, and the hostess brought out a little cream pitcher that she used as a teapot. Furthermore, the lid for the teapot was a repurposed dipping bowl of the Chinese sort that might have been designed for sesame seeds or soy sauce. The arrangement became an unorthodox “teapot,” but it did the trick for our needs.
Similarly, on a walk to Granville Island last summer, I discovered some unique musical instruments called “poddrums.” Looking somewhat like water pots from Nigeria, poddrums have round holes and curvy knobs with more holes in them. Instead of using these objects like a water jug to carry water, the artist plays the instrument by covering various holes while simultaneously slapping other holes on the instrument to create a distinctive sound. (Picture here)
Just as an artist created unique musical instruments out of water jug-like objects, and just as my friend shared hospitality by using a cream pitcher in an unusual but delightful way, Jesus, too, used containers for a purpose other than their original purpose. Remember the story of how He turned water into wine at a wedding? That water was stored in water pots used for ceremonial washing – not exactly your typical wine barrels (or wine skins). What’s more, those ceremonial washing jars were used to contain the very best wine at the wedding.
I don’t know about you, but I find myself sometimes feeling a little bit like those pre-wine washing pots in the water-to-wine story, seemingly a square peg in a round hole. I am at a place in life where I never would have expected to be -- on more than one level. I am a single person in a two-for-one world. I grew up in a medium-sized Vancouver Island city, but now make my home in a large centre. I graduated from university with distinction, majoring in Applied Linguistics with a minor in Japanese Studies, but have had a sharp learning curve working in Purchasing in a sea of business-related majors.
Sometimes I feel a tendency to feel overlooked, invisible and entirely inadequate. I kind of wonder how I got to where I am. Just as nobody would have thought those ceremonial pots could be used for anything remarkable, I often wonder how I bring value to the world around me.
The truth is, God can use WHOEVER and WHATEVER he wants HOWEVER he chooses to fulfill HIS purposes! Do I really trust the Maker that His purposes will be fulfilled in me?
If we look at the Bible, we can see many examples of how God used ordinary people, even people who didn’t necessarily feel adequate, to carry out His plans.
- He used a young minority woman named Esther to save a nation.
- He used Moses, a timid man who stuttered, to lead His people out of Egypt.
- He used Gideon, a young man who felt weak, to destroy his own father’s idols and save Israel.
God sometimes puts us in places we wouldn’t expect to end up in order to let His glory shine through us. We may feel completely inadequate or ill-equipped for what He has called us to do. But just as my friend found a creative use for her cream pitcher, just as an artist decided to make music from water jug-like objects, and just as God worked through seemingly insignificant people in biblical times to accomplish significant feats, how much more can God make something beautiful out of us, even with all of our imperfections.
Just as the power of the Holy Spirit allowed Jesus to turn water to wine in those washing pots, so the Holy Spirit works in us to prepare us to fulfill His plans. We ARE His handiwork.
Are you willing to be repurposed for a purpose?
A native of Vancouver Island (aka "the Big Island"), Jill now makes her home in Vancouver, British Columbia where she enjoys baking for colleagues and friends, going for extended walks, playing music, or gazing at the beautiful local mountains. Jill also loves meeting people from other countries and greeting them in their native tongue with the limited phrases from other languages she knows. A reluctant adult ballet drop-out, Jill still sometimes enjoys dancing like nobody's watching... because they usually aren't!