We love pretty China, and over the years we’ve collected several sets of dinnerware with beautiful patterns ranging from song birds and roses to winter fowl and fishes. And we actually use them throughout the year. We put out different patterns for different seasons, holidays and occasions. We’re not being snooty, we just enjoy setting a pretty table. Plus, we know that setting out nice plates makes our guests feel very special.
However, we’re not averse to using paper plates. In fact, for certain situations paper plates (or plates molded from plastic or styrofoam) are best. And face it, most people who own fine China usually also have a set of everyday dishes — nothing to really brag about, but perfectly serviceable for setting a meal on the table.
Now, allow us to ask you two important questions. Your answers will be key to the kitchen wisdom we’re about to share. 1) What’s more important: the food or what it’s served on? 2) Does serving food on a paper or foam plate make it taste any less delicious?
If you’re like us, you’d rather have something really scrumptious served on everyday dishes than something that tastes ho-hum served on expensive China. We believe anybody would. Furthermore, we have friends who are good cooks but who don’t own nice dishes. They serve delectable meals on old plates that are scuffed, chipped and cracked — or they simply use disposable plates. Now obviously, the delicious food they lovingly prepared for us, tastes every bit as good on a chipped plate as if it were served to us on bone China.
So, again, while having fine China or pretty dinnerware is nice, it’s not as important as the food itself — or the one who lovingly served it. If you receive something that’s gourmet, it’s remains gourmet whether it’s served in a plate made of paper, foam, plastic, or porcelain; whether it’s served in an aluminum pie pan, a chipped dish, or a bowl made of unglazed clay. The FOOD served in the vessel remains unchanged.
Our Heavenly Father understands this — even when we sometimes don’t! 2,000 years ago, God served the human race something that was GOURMET ALL THE WAY: the redeeming work of His only son Jesus Christ, who died for our sins that we might have eternal life. We receive God’s gourmet salvation, as a free gift, when we confess with our mouths Jesus as Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead. (Romans 10:9) Our promise of eternal life is sealed by the power and the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, who dwells within each of us!
Just think, if you’re a believer, there’s a spark of the divine Creator of the Universe dwelling in you. God filled you with His divine presence the moment you received Christ as Lord and Savior. And it’s gourmet all the way. We essentially become God’s dinnerware. We doubt any of us can brag about being expensive bone China, though. Most of us are just plain, everyday dishes. Many of us are scratched and scuffed up from years of use. Some of us are cracked and a little tarnished from the often rough-handling we receive in life, or chipped and broken from our own past failings. But that’s not a problem for God. He still uses each of us to serve in His kingdom.
We are God’s imperfect vessels, and like plates made of paper, foam, plastic or bone China, all of us are different. “A large house contains not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay.” (2 Timothy 2:20 BSB) But does that make what we hold — the essence of the Living God, lovingly served to us by our Heavenly Father — any less wonderful? No way! “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.” (2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT)