Maybe I can share something...

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Crystal Goblets and Peanut Butter Jars

Here's another poem by Bob Benson, from Laughter in the Walls p. 44

Shortly after Peg and I were married,
Mrs. Payne gave me
four lovely crystal goblets.
They were even lovlier because
she told me
they were the only four remaining
of the crystal she recieved
for her own wedding
some sixty years earlier.
They were thin,
beautifully shaped
and delicately etched.
We still have them at our house.

We decided not to use Mrs. Payne's crystal
As a matter of fact,
we decided not to use ours, either.
We're saving it for "good,"
whenever that comes.
If using crystal is the basis
for judging our married life,
we haven't had much "good."
Of all the things that were given to
us some twenty-five years ago,
the crystal is probably
the least used.
The toaster and the mixer
have long since bitten the dust.
We could use another linen shower.
But the crystal is still there.
We just use everyday glasses
like you do.

I don't know why,
but I like glasses to match.
They're not too expensive,
so when I buy Christmas gifts
I usually end up with a set
of glasses.
The last thing I do on Christmas Eve
after Peg has gone to bed,
and after the bikes are
put together,
is to take all the old glasses out
and stand the new ones
in neat, orderly rows.

After a few weeks the same thing
always begins to happen.
Someone will empty
the peanut butter jar.
Someone else will stick it
in the dishwasher.
Someone else will put
the jar on the shelf.
At last, it shows up
on the dinner table.
There it is--
thick and ugly--
with part of the label
still attached.
There is no delicate etching.
It doesn't match.
It's just a big, old
ex-peanut butter jar.

We all know that there are people
who seem to have
all the natural graces.
They know just what to say
and when to say it.
They move through life with ease
and are like a benediction
wherever they go.
They are Mrs. Payne's
crystal glasses.
Some folks are like that.
They are better by nature
than others are by grace.

Now, I hate to bring this up,
Maybe I don't even need to,
I'll just mention it.
We all know some folks
who are like
peanut butter jars.
You know--
part of the label is still hanging on.
There's not much grace
and beauty about them.
They are always blurting out
the wrong thing
at the wrong time.
You would think
that by law of averages
they would accidentally say
the right thing once in awhile.
They are the people who say,
"I've always liked that
blue dress on you," or
"I like that suit better
than the ones you're wearing
these days."

"You are vessels unto honor,"
Paul writes.
The variety of vessels
proves that what matters is not that
we are goblets
or peanut butter jars
or root beer mugs.
The difference proves that
the power does not
come from us.
The power is God's alone.

We are not great because
of what we are.
We are great because
of what we contain.
He has made you a
"depository of truth."
The secret is this:
Christ in you.


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