So a few weeks ago, I went to Alex’s house for lunch to discuss some church stuff as well as this website. As usual, he was nice enough to provide me with some lunch. And as we were chatting in the kitchen whilst cooking, he took some bowls out in preparation and asked me to get a spoon.
Chinese spoons are different than your typical western spoon. They have a shorter handle and a bigger scoop. They seem to be maximised for soup drinking, being able to hold a greater volume, as well as a greater ability to hold all that chinesey soup bits and bobs (chicken, lotus, whatever other weird stuff). And unlike western spoons, they aren’t made of metal.
In a cheap Chinese restaurant, you’ll probably get a plastic spoon with a decorative chinese print on it. In a slightly better Chinese restaurant you’ll be given a plain white ceramic spoon. And in a nice Chinese restaurant, you’ll probably get a ceramic Chinese spoon with a decorative print. If you’re in the army, your Chinese spoon will probably be metal.
So as I was saying, the Alex Chow asked that I get two Chinese spoons from the drawer. Using the fingers God gave me, I reached in a grabbed two spoons, a task I’ve done many times before, but for whatever the reason, that fateful day, my finger grip failed me, and the world froze as I watched one of those spoons fall the ground, breaking into 3 pieces on impact.
It was one of those nice ceramic spoons with a decorative design on it.
Instantly, my apologies came flooding forth. “I’m really sorry!” “I’m so clumsy.” “Me and my fat fingers.” “I’ll look for a replacement.” “Can I still have lunch?”
And as I began to clean up the mess I had made, Alex looked at me and said, hmm… i suppose if I told you where those spoons came from it’d just make you feel worse.
Apparently, when the newlywed Chow’s first moved to the UK, they realised that in their new marriage they were without a good set of Chinese spoons. And so in their search for spoons, they could not find a set which suited their North American lips. And so, when their parents came over for a visit, Betty had them bring over a few spoons from the family’s home collection. Yes, the spoon I had just broke, was from imported from Betty’s home in Canada.
At this point I’m ridden with guilt, and so I say, “Should I tell Betty? I should tell Betty shouldn’t I? Is she going be upset? What should I do?”
And Alex says, “Well, if you tell her, you better tell her before she comes home and see the remains of the spoon in the bin.”
And at that moment, fear, remorse, guilt, and thoughts of how fast I can get replacement spoon race through my brain.
As I leave their house, I apologise again to Alex, and he says, “It’s fine. Betty *should* be fine with it. I’m sure it’s okay.”
I walk home wondering whether Alex is just winding me up, or whether I really am in trouble. I begin to tell myself, sure, it’s fine. In fact, i don’t have to tell Betty. It’s just a spoon. What’s the big deal. And yet, the other part of me says, you should confess, and apologise, it’s better than having her find the spoon in the bin.
And so, i send her text, apologising profusely, and promising to make it up to her (i’m still looking for a spoon betty…) and betty replies, graciously and forgivingly.
So what does this have to do with Joshua 7-8? Chinese spoons? Surely this should go on your personal blog. Tsktsk. In this past Sunday’s sermon, Alex pointed out that we often find ourselves hiding things from God. Trying to keep hold of things from Him, hoping that in some way or another he doesn’t see or know about them.
And for me, realising that I even contemplated hiding the fact that I’d broken a Chinese spoon, reveals just how weak and timid I can be. I would sooner save my own face, than face reality.
This desire for self-preservation means that I have forgotten that I have died and live now in Christ.
Sometimes being strong and courageous means bringing the hidden things in your heart before God and letting him sort through them for you.