Sunday, July 04, 2004

Be a Spoon

Leonard Sweet, a well-known Methodist preacher, tells the story of a little girl who entertained herself while setting the table by bringing the utensils to life;

Her mother listened as knives, forks and spoons carried on conversation and wrestled their way onto the table.

Suddenly the girl looked over at her mother and declared, "If I had to choose, I'd rather be a spoon!"

"A spoon," her mother replied, now intrigued, "Why would you want to be a spoon? What would be wrong with being a fork or a knife?"

"Well," the girl explained, "forks are too grabby, always stabbing stuff and taking it like its theirs. Like in school, I hate it when somebody takes a piece of my desert with their fork and eats it."

"Okay," her mother agreed. "But what about the knife?"

"No, knives are scary, like, they cut things, and you can't really eat with them, just slice stuff up. But spoons! Spoons can scoop up lots of stuff and even pass it around! They're just nice and round and smooth and friendly. I'd rather be a spoon!"
Do you know any forks? These are the folks who never seem to have enough, and so they are constantly looking for something more that they can stab their tines into. For a fork, grabbing all the "stuff" is what life is all about.

Do you know any knives? These folks are control freaks. No matter what it is, it's never quite right. They've got to trim, slice and dissect the heart right out of every idea. For knives, it's all about being in control.

But, spoons...spoons are different. Instead of taking, spoons were designed to serve. The spoon doesn't stab everything in its path and claim it for itself, or trim everything down to fit its own cookie-cutter reality. For spoons, service is what it's all about.

Spoons are also adaptable. They can serve hot soup or they can serve ice cream. If you have to, you can eat steak or spaghetti with a spoon. Have you ever noticed that there is always more spoons than anything else in a silverware set? A service for four includes 4 knives, 4 dinner forks, 4 salad forks, and 8 spoons! The makers know that the spoon gets used in more ways than grabby forks or scary knives.

But a spoon is simply a tool. It can only serve if it is used properly. One vision of hell might be a huge banquet hall full of people sitting at tables overflowing with food. Everyone is wailing and gnashing their teeth, because they can see and smell the food, but can't taste it. You see, in this vision of hell, everyone has huge spoons strapped to each arm, making it impossible to bend the elbow. Those at the banquet in hell can scoop up the food with their spoons, but cannot bend their arms to reach their mouths.

A vision of heaven might be the same banquet room, the same heaping tables, the same giant spoons, but we hear laughter and singing as the people enjoy the feast. In heaven, they don't need to bend their arms. In heaven, they feed one another.

Let us commit ourselves to the servant ministry of Christ. Let us be good spoons, instruments of God's grace in the world, scooping out generous helpings of love and compassion for a hurting world.


No comments:

Post a Comment