Tuesday, November 12

Why I brought out the crystal dishes

I packed up our plain ceramic dishes, plastic plates, and even half of our children’s plastic plates last month.  I also promised myself to serve drinks in glass or crystal cups to adults at our table.  It is time to take a risk.

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In Matthew chapter 25 the story is told where a man is going away on a journey.  To his three servants he gave each an amount of money to care for.  To one he gave 5 thousand, to the second he gave 2 thousand, and to the third he gave 1 thousand dollars.  The first two doubled their master’s investments and brought great wealth back to him.  Here is the account of the third: 

(Matthew 25:24-30, The Message)
 “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’

 “The master was furious. ‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

 “‘Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.’

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Before we were married I was given a set of Princess House Crystal dishes. They sat untouched from the time that we had children until about one month ago.  For those you don’t know our family timeline, we have been married for over 12 years and have had children for the last 9 ½.  

We moved twice since we became parents and the crystal has been packed up then unpacked each time, and each time was stowed away in the china cabinet, unseen.  They collected dust for almost 10 years.

We have a lot of kids, I told myself, and several that are still little and could break things as well as children with disabilities that are going to need to be much older than a typical child before they outgrow that phase of clumsiness and are able to be around glass without the concern of breakage.  (ßThose are probably severe understatements!)  It made sense to save the crystal for a day in the future that we could enjoy it with more ease and not run the risk of something breaking.  We just brought it out for special occasions.

Last month I had a realization.  We are saving our best for the future, while “getting by” today.

My rationalization won out for the last 9 ½ years, and the crystal stayed in the china cabinet, unused, unseen, and the glasses on the shelf, untouched.  The plastic plates and tumblers won out. 

But no more.

We have often saved what is ‘our best’ for it to be enjoyed when we entertain guests and strangers.  We hoped in the future to have our family get to a place where we could use the nice dishes with no risk.   

I realize, though, that setting a table for my husband and family is not ‘just us’ but it is a privilege and a blessing. 

When we choose to set aside what we have that is good and hide it away knowing that some day it will be useful to show that we have it and have taken good care of it, it becomes useless, and even more so, it is not good stewardship.

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I think this applies to us emotionally and spiritually just as much as it does physically in our investments and risks.  We hide away some things rather than risk that in sharing we could be hurt.  In loving we could be rejected.  In helping we could be taken advantage of.  We save things, even from those we know the best and love the most, because of a fear of the risk involved.  The time that we would lose.  And what if it doesn’t do any good anyway?

When we decide to respect and acknowledge that there is a necessity of safety that we cannot ignore, but that there is still a risk that is reasonable that we can take to encourage, help, share, or otherwise serve others, then we begin to give our best.  Until we get to that point, we continue to “get by” today and save our best for some unknown future that may never come.  It's time to risk it.  It's time to bring out our best for our family and for others.


Here’s my disclaimer:  We respect and acknowledge that there is a necessity of safety that we cannot and will not ignore with some children and they continue to use bowls and plates made of indestructible materials.  We do, however, live with the ‘risk’ that giving our best today may mean that something breaks and cannot be used in the future.  By taking that risk knowingly we are also discarding the ability to discipline the children that accidentally break it.  That’s part of the deal.



1 comment:

  1. All so true. We use our "good" dishes on special occasions, and I make sure we have lots of them. I pull them out on every birthday, for sit-down Sunday dinners, whenever we have visitors, and to celebrate anything exciting.

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