Who really wants to be the Spork at God’s table? Wouldn’t we rather jump into a silver role, or perhaps jostle for the stainless steel positions? Even reusable picnic-ware beats becoming the humble and disposable Spork. Or does it?
For those who don’t know a Spork is a combination SPoon and fORK. According to Wikipedia, “Sporks are commonly used by fast food restaurants, schools, prisons, the military, backpackers and in airline meals.” Makes sense. Why provide two utensils for eating when one can serve the purpose? Use it. Toss it. No washing. No drying.
Sporks do have dining limitations, though. I once used a Spork along with a plastic knife to cut a steak. I learned that the handle of said Spork possessed adequate springiness to launch a chunk of rib-eye across the table and onto my wife’s blouse. Oops!
We used to archive Sporks in the kitchen drawer (with semi-annual disposal events when the collection grew unwieldy) until I figured out I could include Sporks in packages destined for out-of-state relatives. Toss a few into your next mailing. Imagine the discussion at the other end when the box is open. “What are these? Why did he include them? What are we supposed to do with them? I’m pretty sure he’s downshifted mentally since retirement.”
But seriously, people, plastic grocery bags aren’t the only free packing materials available to us.
Sporks take on new value for hobby enthusiasts. Use them for mixing and spreading and dipping and stirring. I’m a gardener and either end of the Spork contributes in that arena. The Spork part is large enough for my fingers to grasp while the handle end easily drills a hole in the soil so I can pot up seedlings. And the Spork is great for scooping seedlings out of seed starting media. Save a few Sporks and keep them near your seed starting materials. Or spend big bucks for an official dibble tool from one of the big name gardening outfitters. I would rather exchange my shekels for seeds and plants.
The Apostle Paul composed a letter to the Corinthian church in which he addressed numerous issues including the mad scramble for the perceived top spots in the fellowship. In simple terms no one wanted to be the Spork. Everyone clawed and scratched to nab positions as sterling silver. We shouldn’t point fingers at the Corinthians, though, because that same battle rages in today’s church. Paul penned three chapters (1 Corinthians 12-14) painting a picture of the church as a body with all the parts contributing to the whole. It’s an encouraging read if it’s been a while since you examined it.
Consider three personal choices I must make to plug in and function.
I will be humble.
It is my privilege to serve God in any capacity. In His kindness God allows me to minister to others in His name and for His glory. He chooses my gift set, and if I pay attention He will guide me to the best role for making my contribution. I must decide beforehand that I will tackle the job He opens before me. I can’t grouse because I think that the task is too minuscule for my amazing talents.
But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.1 Corinthians 12:18 NASB
I will be usable.
Peter remains one of my favorite Bible characters. He used his boats and his nets to catch fish and earned a living from the take. To survive as a fisherman he had to have been reasonably good at the practice. He knew tips and tricks. He frequented the best locations where fish hang out. One day the fish refused to cooperate, and Peter’s long night of toil netted nothing. As Peter cleaned up and stowed his gear Jesus asked to borrow the boat. Peter obliged. When His message ended Jesus gave Peter, an expert fisherman, fishing advice.
When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.” When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink.Luke 5:4-7 NASB
Was Peter capable of rowing his boat out to the deep water? Yes!
Could he let his nets down? Yes!
Could he take them up again? Yes!
Was he expecting anything to happen that late in the day in deep water? No!
Jesus surprised him. Peter humbly obeyed and used what he had by way of equipment and skills. God did the rest. Look at your role and say, “I can use what God gives me. I will do my best. I will leave the results in His capable hands.”
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.1 Peter 4:10 NASB
I will be expendable.
In another letter to the Corinthians Paul expressed his heart’s attitude on how he had served among them.
I will most gladly spend and be expended for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?2 Corinthians 12:15 NASB
The word translated expend is used this single time in the New Testament. It means to exhaust, to use up, or to spend utterly. Paul came to Corinth ready to give his all, even his very life, to minister. What is my attitude as I approach the opportunities God opens for me?
Paul’s commitment drove him to be all in.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.Philippians 1:21 NASB
Use what you’ve got and do what you can. Fulfill your purpose. Be the best Spork you can be. Set the bar high for the other Sporks that will follow. Why would we do this?
Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.1 Peter 4:11 NASB
The phrase bears repeating, “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ…”
Humble. Usable. Expendable. Determined to bring glory to God. That’s our purpose.