Five Spoons and Twelve Men

It was Christmastime, 2016, and I was preparing to host the Arizona side of our family for Christmas Eve.  I enjoy entertaining, and I really enjoy Christmas, so it was a win-win for me.  About a week before Christmas, I went through my dish sets and started figuring out how I wanted to set the table, when I realized I didn’t have complete or matching sets of silverware.   This is not a big deal, right?  It shouldn’t be, but it is to me. 

Thankfully Sam (and his club) sold a silverware set I loved.  The price wasn’t bad, and I was able to purchase enough so every guest could have the same matching silverware.  Martha Stewart would have been proud.  It probably wasn’t until a few weeks later that I noticed I was missing five spoons from the new set.  Just spoons.  The knives and forks were all there.  I looked in the antique buffet, where we store fancy dishes and family heirlooms. I scoured the kitchen, pulling open drawers and cupboards.  I rummaged through boxes in the garage.  I pulled up couch cushions.   I even interrogated all those who live in this house. “Is there any way you could have thrown a spoon away? Or five?  You Girls’ play that Spoons game, did you use the nice spoons for that? Did anyone see any of our dinner guests leave with a spoon on Christmas Eve?”

I got nowhere.  I was convinced they were gone for good—tarnishing in a landfill somewhere.

Then sometime in the month of May, my husband opened a cupboard in the kitchen.  I have these cute Mason jars that I use for plastic utensils when I’m hosting less formal gatherings, and guess what?  Five beautiful spoons were mixed in with the clear and metallic plastic spoons.  I was elated!  But I was also perplexed.  I’d opened that cupboard and seen those spoons multiple times in the last five months, but they blended so well with the fake, plastic ones, I never thought twice about it.

I festered about those five missing spoons for months, and hated that the silverware drawer lay there incomplete.  I was disappointed that I couldn’t tell the real spoons from the imposters all those months.  But I’ve learned something from those silly spoons.  I’ve realized that when it comes to the bigger challenges in my life, I can go from A to Z in about two seconds, and come up with my own story of why something or someone is a certain way.  I can imagine all sorts of outcomes in my own life, and the lives of others.  I can veer so quickly from what I know to be true, and conjure up an outcome that is anything but true.

Perhaps I have some trust issues. 

I listened to a lesson about faith recently—God’s faithfulness to us, and our faith in Him.  I’ve known my faith in Christ is a journey.  When I hear the word journey I think of something that isn’t completed yet; something that isn’t perfected; something that is a little unknown; something that is individual, and can’t be compared to another.  

When the 12 disciples first started following Jesus and witnessing miracles, they asked Him questions—many questions.  I would probably do the same. 

“Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6: 28-29.

To believe.

Our job is to believe in Jesus. 

It sounds simple enough, right? Just believe.  I experience times in my faith journey where it is so much easier to believe in Jesus than other times.  And at other times it is work to believe. I think the disciples were realizing this too.  After all, they had just witnessed a horrible storm on the Sea of Galilee the night before this conversation unfolded.   They had seen Jesus walk on water towards their boat.  They had been in the middle of a turbulent sea one minute, and back on the calm shore the next.  (John 6:21) Prior to this experience, they had witnessed other miracles, but in the midst of this storm, their faith weakened.

Believe me, I’m not bashing or judging these twelve men.  I most certainly would have had the same reaction.  But it brings me peace to know that they struggled throughout Jesus’s ministry with their own faith journeys.  They questioned. They feared.  They doubted.  And they had faulty expectations of things to come. 

“. . . Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  Hebrews 12: 1-2a”

It is work to lay aside every weight.  It is work to repent from sin.  But thankfully we serve a patient God who enables us, encourages us, and loves us to the end. I would even say He understands, and expects, that we will struggle to believe Him at times.

Those five silly spoons serve a greater purpose than just scooping up cereal and soup bites now. When I unload the dishwasher, and I place those spoons in their little section of the silverware drawer, I’m reminded of how grateful I am to have a complete set. Even better, I’m reminded that someday my faith journey will be complete, only because Jesus is the author and finisher of my faith.

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