At a recent gathering of Christians I had an interesting impression, which some might call a prophetic insight. I saw a partly rusting tin can, such as a child might use when rambling around a yard collecting items of interest. A child might collect a shiny stone, a feather, a coloured button and other unrelated items, each chosen because they seem to be a ‘treasure’ to the child.
The impression I had was of a hand holding such a can of unrelated items. I realised, however, that the hand was not that of a child, but the hand of God. The message I sensed immediately was of God bringing together a strange set of pieces that seem unrelated to us. Yet in God’s plan those unrelated pieces are meant to be brought together.
This applied immediately to the gathering I was attending. There were people from various churches and people with different ideas about how to worship God, all brought together for God’s purposes.
Our natural instinct is to gather with those who are like us, who do things the way we like things done. But God likes to surprise us by bringing together pieces which wouldn’t be our natural choice, and using them to surprise us.
“Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” 1Corinthians 1:20
“God choses foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and weak things of the world to confound things which are mighty; And God chose the world’s base things, and things despised, yes, and things of no consequence, to overturn things that are: So no flesh can glory in his presence.” 1Corinthians 1:27-29.
During the singing there was a chap near me who persisted in clapping on the beat, loudly. It didn’t enhance my enjoyment of the music. Part of me wished he would stop. He would have been one of the pieces in the can that I didn’t appreciate. Maybe in his church that kind of loud clapping was normal, but I would rather clap less intrusively and maybe with more variety than his driving rhythm.
After getting the impression of the tin can I began to thank God for the person clapping loudly, accepting that God, in His infinite wisdom, was happy with that man and his form of worship. I realised I had to also be happy with that man and his form or worship, since God was and God had put us in the same tin can.
I reflected on the wider group of people gathered in the meeting and realised that God was releasing grace to all of them, giving each of them opportunity to worship Him along with others they did not know.
Instead of feeling a little exclusive or elitist in my estimation of myself I accepted that we all, weird as some might seem to me, were each as much God’s choice as the other. We were all picked up by God and put into God’s tin can as His ‘treasures’.
This truth works in reverse as well. If you are one of those who feels you need to apologise for yourself and your inability to fit the standards of others, put that thought aside and realise that God has chosen you to be in His tin can, as one of His ‘treasures’.
You may be different, and you may fail to pass the test of others, but you are not here to serve those others who might stand in judgement of you, but you are here to be what God wants you to be and to glorify Him.
God, in His economy, has places for all manner of people. Our most important part is not to fulfil some religious duty but to be who God wants us to be, to accept His salvation and to live for His glory.
So, to all those who wonder where they fit, may I be the first to welcome you to God’s Tin Can. Hallelujah!