True confession. I am a little obsessed with plastic dishes. I really like them. I love when Spring is just around the corner and value stores begin hawking brightly colored plates, bowls, and cups with gaudy prints in tropical patterns. Likewise, I have one large cabinet dedicated to reusable bowls with lids, good for leftovers and lunchboxes. I love getting new, pristine bowls with matching lids that I don’t need to search for. There is a hierarchy in the world of plastic containers. Tupperware is at the top! It costs the most, but it lasts forever. It seals perfectly, doesn’t leak, and washes easily. We all probably have a piece or two from our mom or even grandma at home! It is the gold crown on the plastic heap. Then there are the mid range plastic dishes like Rubbermaid. They have some quality pieces, but they aren’t quite in the Tupperware league. Next in line you have the toss and take varieties of plastics. I like these guys. They are good in a pinch, and I keep them long after the recommended one use. Doesn’t everyone? Last in the hierarchy are the empty cottage cheese, sour cream, and lunch meat containers. These bowls can be used just like the other dishes, but they are essentially free. Sure, they don’t seal as well, so you don’t want to transport liquids in them, but they are good in a pinch.Yes, they can be useful, but if someone forgets to clean their lunchbox out over spring break, I don’t feel nearly as bad about throwing them away as I would a Tupperware.
You may wonder what plastic dishes have to do with your relationship with God. You see, I am a Christian and have been for the better part of my life, but I have always felt more like a cottage cheese container than a Tupperware. I see all those Tupperware Christians. They seem to have life all together, they are stain resistant, and their lids never leak. You would never throw away a tupperware that got left in a lunch box over Spring Break. You would wash that sucker until it gleamed! It seems so valuable compared to the cottage cheese dish with the label wearing off the front and a lid that is a little bent and crooked. I feel like if God looked at me like I look at my plastic collection, He might just be tempted to say, this little cottage cheese container has really hung in there, but maybe she just isn’t worth the effort to save anymore. Maybe she’s just too worn out, after all this time she still leaks a little, and she certainly doesn’t hold everything together like a Tupperware. I don’t pray enough. I’m not good enough. I could always read and study the word of God more. I give in to panic and fear more than I like to admit. I don’t feel shiny and I certainly don’t have my life all together. If God looked at Christians like I look at plastics, I’m pretty sure I would be in recycling or the trash can.
Thankfully, God does not see me as a cottage cheese container. I am not at the bottom of the Christian heap, or worse, discarded. God sees me through the eyes of Jesus who died to give me a new life. He sees me fully reconciled to Him. He wants me. And if my lid is sometimes a little crooked, He is reshaping it and helping make it straight. He seals me in His righteousness. He teaches me to trust in the process, knowing that sanctification is ongoing for a lifetime. He says to me, you are mine and you are worthy. He knows I am not perfect, but he loves me anyway. And though I know He wants me to have a clean heart, he doesn’t throw me away when I give in to sin. He washes me, removes the stains, and holds me close. You see, the cottage cheese dish is just as valuable to God as the Tupperware. So if you have trouble sleeping because of worry, or you complained about your week instead of showing your gratitude, or you yelled at your kids this morning, it is really okay. Ask for forgiveness, and try again. And when your husband asks you if you are going to keep another cottage cheese container, you can just look at him and smile as you put another valuable vessel in your overflowing plastic cabinet.
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,”
1 Corinthians 6:10
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.