Judy Brandon: Local Columnist
Early on I found out what it meant to save something for a designated purpose. 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 twelve.
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 when special guests from New Zealand, Africa, Germany and Korea would eat with us. During holidays when visitors would arrive from varied backgrounds, mother used her silver. We used the silver only on those special events.
It took time, sacrifice and patience to get the silverware set. When my mother received the last piece, the silver was even more special. 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 Susie 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. The silver was cherished, set apart, used for a specific worthy purpose. Since the silver was designated for very special occasions, this distinction gave the set a special quality.
This is a parallel for the Christian. 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 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.
As 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 very 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. Evaluate your calling in Christ Jesus. One who is a chosen vessel in Christ, one who is set apart for this purpose, should live a life worthy of his or her calling.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: