By Judy Brandon: Local columnist
I am saving “boxtops” for my grandchildren’s school.
While clipping and cutting from cereal and cake mix boxes, I think about my mother, who purchased a silverware set with coupons.
When my parents were in seminary, we were on a tight budget. Yet, my mother believed that as a pastor’s wife, she would someday want to have folks into our home for meals. Having the right pieces to for a proper table was important to her. A friend from Japan had given her some beautiful china, but mother could never afford sterling silverware. Oddly enough, the solution came from butter boxes.
My mother bought a certain brand of butter and the company began to offer coupons in the butter boxes for sterling silver flatware. So her saving-butter-coupon-days began. Every so often she would send a coupon along with a little money to buy a knife, fork or spoon. After a long time of eating butter, mother had the service for 12.
The set of silverware was brought out only for special company. When we would have visiting preachers in our home, mother would use the silver at dinner. The silver came out for special events.
It took time, sacrifice and patience to get the silverware set, and when my mother received the last piece, the silver was even more special.
The silver was treated with great care. At cleanup time after a meal, we hand washed each piece. Digging in mud outdoors with one of those silver spoons was unthinkable. Never would my sister or I use a silver knife to pound out a beat to music on the concrete. We never did anything to scratch or tarnish any piece of the set.
This is a parallel for Christians. Paul wrote in Romans 1:1 that he was a “servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” Paul thought it was clear that he was called for a special purpose, set apart and sanctified for the gospel.
In Old Testament times, the instruments for worship were sanctified or set apart for temple worship. No woman of ancient Israel would have thought about using one of the vessels for cooking her dinner in it. Grabbing a goblet and taking it home for every day use was absolutely inconceivable because these instruments were holy unto the Lord and set apart for service to the Lord.
My mother’s silver was set apart for special events, just like the instruments in the temple were set apart. Like Paul called himself one set apart for the gospel, we as Christians are to be just that — set apart.
Yet the world sees a different picture in some Christians. Among us are gossipers. There are those who are unethical, mean, hateful to little children, and deceitful to neighbors. Sometimes Christians talk one way on Sunday and live much different the rest of the week.
According to Paul, God calls Christians to be set apart, holy, sanctified, and different before the world — otherwise the vessel isn’t any different. If we are chosen vessels of Christ, set apart for his purposes, we should live lives worthy of that calling.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: