In some of my random, and slightly demented, musings recently, I began to wonder what my butter knives would say if they could talk. You see, a couple of years ago Debbie and I bought some sleek, shiny Cuisinart chef’s knives for our kitchen. They came with their own stand so that we could set them out on the counter. There they sit… imposing, I must say. You look at them and imagine the precise slicing and paring they could perform. However, I have discovered that they are quite the prima donnas. You see, you would never use them to spread peanut butter or jelly – the blades aren’t really suited for those mundane tasks. And, if you needed to tap on a stubborn jar lid, you’d never use their handle, for the blade would cut your hand to ribbons. Occasionally, there are times when a screw needs a bit of a twist and a screwdriver is nowhere to be found; yet you’d never use one of these gleaming specialists, for fear of bending or chipping their expensive blade. Meanwhile, tucked away in a drawer, out of view, sit the butter knives… just right for constructing that perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich, loosening that stubborn lid, tightening that loose screw, or prying off that ring on the milk container. Maybe you’re like one of those butter knives. You feel like you sit by unnoticed while that gleaming butcher knife sings a solo, or feel undervalued while that razor-sharp paring knife preaches that moving sermon or teaches that profound lesson. Here’s the thing I see, though: when there’s work to be done, God… just like me, often reaches for a butter knife to accomplish it. He found Moses, not when he was shining brightly up on the counter in Egypt, but when he was out of sight in Midian’s wilderness; and He passed right over all of Jesse’s gleaming chef cutlery to choose David, who was tucked away out in a sheep field. Samuel, who was sent to anoint one of Jesse’s sons to be the next king of Israel, seemed to be dazzled by the appearance of Eliab, David’s older brother. I Samuel 16:6 says, “When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the LORD’s anointed stands here before the LORD.’” Look at God’s response, though, in the next verse: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.’” Later, when Jesus chose His apostles, he ignored all of those Pharisaical cleavers and slicers to choose butter knives like Peter, James, and John.
Today, God still looks for someone who is willing to do whatever he or she is asked to do, no matter how menial or “not in my job description” it may be. While gifts may be attractive sitting out on the counters of churches, God says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness” (II Cor. 12:9). In fact, in Gideon’s case, before the battle began, God made Gideon send nearly all of his soldiers home, until the odds looked so insurmountable that only God could provide victory. So, if you feel unnoticed, under appreciated, or unworthy, you are in good company. Be patient, soon God will open that drawer under the coffee maker and pull out that butter knife on which He knows He can depend.