I consider shopping a ministry, so I do a lot of shopping to interact with people. Actually, to be honest with you, I do a lot of shopping because I love to shop! Oh, it may be easier, or even less expensive to shop online, but it is important to support our local people, and besides, I want to be with the people.
Sometimes I get in over my head and the people probably think, “She’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer,” but I do know how to ask questions, and how to lead a person to talk about their selves. Even if I am clueless about their topic, I listen carefully, pulling my flat ears out from under my extra thick hair, and turning my ear into the conversation. People usually tell me a lot about their life, and I tell them a lot about my Jesus. Sharing and shopping make it a win-win situation for both of us, even if I do not buy a thing.
With my love of fashion, and just about anything to do with decorating or improving the home, I find myself in the shopping market quite often. On our out of town excursions, my husband is my designated shopping guide. While not a shopper, he is a real trooper, scoping parking places and recalculating GPS in a single bound. But I can count on one hand the times he has actually purchased something in the last twenty years.
Typically we will meet up after a few hours and he will be empty handed claiming, “He could live without it, or it was too expensive.” But he did surprise me the last time we shopped. I thought, “Finally he bought something for himself!” Instead, his purchase was for me, and it was not jewelry or a purse. He handed me the bag and said, “I think you will like these, they will be very useful.”
The bag contained two German made knives. Once again I was slightly surprised because only a few days ago I mentioned wanting some sharp knives for cutting vegetables. One was a vegetable knife and the other looked a little like a hatchet, which he said was an all-purpose knife. While I was happy he listened, and enjoyed his excitement, my enthusiasm was a bit more subdued. Of course I then proceeded to question whether the one knife was actually a vegetable knife and what in the world is the hatchet thing? The things we say to our husbands; Lord please forgive me for being so ungrateful!
With those thoughts rolling around in my head, I pulled out my new knives to cut our vegetables. He was right! I could not believe the difference these knives made! It was so sharp I had to be careful to keep all my fingers attached. I have been known to slice to the bone with a dull knife. In a few short minutes the veggies were in the cast iron skillet sending sweet fragrant signals to the family. As my husband said, “A kitchen without a sharp knife is like toast without jelly.”
Recently, at the end of one of my fitness classes, a student asked if I was the lady who taught young ladies etiquette, table manners and modeling. This would have been in the late eighties, right after I returned to Kentucky. She shared how those private etiquette and modeling classes have remained a valued part of her life. The very next day two former students reminisced about those classes as well. They were in their early teens when they attended the classes, and now they are all grown up with families of their own.
Speaking with the students brought back wonderful memories of where to place the flatware when setting a table, how to sit properly at the table, where to place the napkin when you first sit down and at the end of the meal, and how to carry on conversation during a meal. I emphasized placing the flatware starting on the outside of the plate setting and moving toward the plate. The knife is always placed to the right with the blade facing the plate. The knife can be used in an informal meal to cut both the salad and the main course.
I am thankful God places people in our path to help us sharpen our tools. He graciously seasons our skills for His service to bring honor to Him. While the deceiver, the father of lies, tells me I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, or ill equipped to tell others about Jesus, God tells me I am fearfully and wonderfully made. As the Child of God matures, God trusts us with greater responsibility. Proverbs 27:17 explains that maturity, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.”
I am thankful for the hard times and the trials that have challenged me to depend on God. There is no greater lesson than realizing there are some things only God can handle. I am now thankful my road was not easy, because I can look back and see how God carried me every step of the way. I am thankful to be able to pull up a chair at my kitchen table, sit down with God, and listen to Him speak into my life. I pull my flat ears out from under my extra thick hair and turn it to God. It is best to let Him do most of the talking. But, He wants to have a conversation with us on a daily basis. Isaiah 1:18 tells us, “Come let us reason this out together.”
When I surrender this life to Him, it becomes a ministry, and the sharpest knife in the drawer.
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