It was a community Thanksgiving Eve service, held at another church. I brought my mother home from the hospital that afternoon. I was feeling bad about having to go to the service, but my mom insisted she would be fine. Pie was being served after the service. Nobody in our house had time to make a pie, so I picked one up at the store.
Before the service I was in the fellowship area of the church. I overheard one lady say to another, in a rather disgusted tone, “Look at that. Somebody bought a pie instead of making one.” It was my pie she was talking about. I was tempted to grab my unwanted, store-bought pie and go home, but I was the speaker that evening so I figured I better stick around. I avoided the temptation during the closing prayer to pray, “Thank you Lord for the pies, especially the store-bought one.”
For some of us, like me that evening, the best service we can do in God’s kingdom is like a store-bought pie. Some people have special talents. The things they can do may seem like an amazing homemade pie: unique and better-tasting than anything you’ve ever had before. They are able to wow and impress people. We give thanks for those unique gifts.
Most of us, though, may feel more like a store-bought pie. Our talents and abilities aren’t necessarily filling people with awe. It may feel like there are plenty of others who can do the things we do. Our service in the kingdom may seem to be a little insignificant and nothing too special.
In the Gospels we read about a boy who didn’t seem to have anything too special to offer. He only had five loaves of bread and two small fish. The disciples wondered, “… how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:9) But Jesus gave thanks for that simple little lunch the boy let be used to serve others, and the Lord used it to feed over 5,000 people.
The Lord can use little lunches and store-bought pies. He treats as valuable people who are devalued by the world. He notices service that is overlooked by others. He can use our talents, even when they don’t seem to stand out from the crowd. We should not be dismissing the store-bought pies and the ordinary gifts that we and others have to offer. Instead let us give thanks when those seemingly simple things are given to God for Him to use. Give thanks for the extraordinary ways God can use ordinary things.