My favorite Christmas ornament is a little red mouse wearing a plaid suit and holding a round golden miniature ornament. I must have gotten it when I was about three, so I’ve had it a l-o-n-g time! When I was little I believed the mouse would come to life and run around our house in the evenings, so I always hung him by his tail on the bottom branch (still do), making it easier for him to scurry down at night and back up again in the morning. My husband’s favorite ornament is a painted wooden duck hanging from a parachute. He’s had it almost as long as I’ve had my mouse. He hangs it high on the tree, so there’s room for the duck to parachute downwards. At first (or even second or third) glance, these ornaments don’t appear special or remarkable. They are never the decorations on our tree that get comments from guests, but to us, they are precious.
My friend, Joyce, has a cookie sheet. “An old one, the kind you can’t get anymore,” is how she describes it. And she swears the secret to her famously delicious chocolate chip cookies is not her recipe, or the type of chocolate chips she uses, but the pan. To you or I it would look like a banged up old cookie sheet, one that should be replaced with a newer, shinier, Teflon version, but Joyce knows better, to her, because she knows its capabilities, it is priceless.
My mom has a box—the infamous 7-Up box. It is simply a square cardboard box, the size of a milk crate, with cut out slots for handles at the top edges and the 7-Up logo on the side. She has had it for decades. A cardboard box. But it is the sturdiest dang box I’ve ever met. She uses it to haul everything from Christmas gifts for the kids to casseroles for sick friends from her house to the car, from her car to people’s homes, over and over again. My husband has asked her on more than one occasion if he could have the box, because it’s just so handy. Mom gives him a suspicious glare and hurriedly locks the box in her car. Just kidding. But Brett has asked for it. And Mom’s not giving it up. Ever.
A couple of worn out ornaments, a banged up pan, an old box? What battered, insignificant looking item do you rely on or treasure? These things don’t look like much to the outsider. But they are treasures. We understand their worth. And so are we. Because God understands our worth. We are all so stinking critical of ourselves. We’re not pretty enough. We’re not fast enough. We wish that ugly zit or wrinkle would vanish. We need to lose or gain five pounds. We hate our hair. We need to get our act together!
But that’s not how God sees us. Ever. To Him we are the most precious ornament on the tree, the one He’s reserved a special branch for.
Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? John 14:2
We are the tools He picks out of His cupboard to bake goodness and sweetness and light for the world. God knows using us is the absolute best way to get the best results. Us? Crazy, stressed, tired, overwhelmed us? Yes us.
You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Matthew 5:14
God chooses to put His gifts in us and carry us around the world, back and forth, spreading His grace wherever we go. He holds onto the handles, and knows that whatever comes our way; we will be sturdy, because He will strengthen us.
Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful! 1 Corinthians 12:5-6
The God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10
So, the next time you’re feeling like you don’t quite measure up. Like your Christmas treats/packages/cards are not Pinterest worthy, like your Elf on the Shelf’s hiding places aren’t so clever, like you’re spinning your wheels, remember that God thinks you are amazing. To Him, no matter how the world sees you, no matter how worn down you may feel, you are a treasure. He will not only do anything and everything to protect you, to preserve you, but He will adore you and find joy in you, and He will use you for great works. So get going. Go shine your light!
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