This time of the year reminds me of the weeks when my husband and I volunteered at North Okanagan Valley Gleaners, a non-profit organization near Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. We spent our mornings cutting vegetables into chunks to be put through a dicer, then dehydrated, bagged, and made into soup mix. Farmers drop off their surplus produce, and volunteers do the chopping.
Often, the donated vegetables are not just surplus but are not fit for the market. Potatoes are misshapen and lumpy, perhaps touched by frost and mushy in spots. Carrots are not straight and uniformly thick, but spiral around each other, as if they were wrapped in a hug. Cabbages are gigantic, and need a cleaver and a steady hand to deal with them. Soft and mouldy spots in vegetables have to be cut out.
The vegetables are considered substandard by their looks, but the finished product is fantastic! Needy people around the world are more than grateful to receive bags of soup mix, made from a variety of vegetables. Photos show the recipients and their children with big smiles, hugging the bags of mix to themselves. You wouldn’t think that the finished product came from such humble beginnings.
The Bible speaks of God choosing what seemed imperfect for His purposes.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)
Samuel had been asked to anoint one of the sons of Jesse, as God was selecting one of them to be king, in place of Saul. God’s choice was not at all what the onlookers expected. God saw what young David would become, whereas his brothers saw David only as their kid brother, youngest of the family, whose occupation was merely looking after the sheep. Although as king, David later became involved in major sin, yet because of his repentant heart, God said, “I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart.” (Acts 13:22b NLT)
We are like those flawed vegetables, rejected for the market. We all have our foibles and defects, our weak points and idiosyncrasies. But God chooses imperfect people, sometimes because of their imperfections. Our usefulness to God doesn’t depend on our strengths, but on our dependence on Him.
“[God] said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.'” (2 Corinthians 12:9a NLT)
Just like the nourishing, life-giving soup mix, our uniqueness and hidden talents become amazing when God empowers them. He chooses us despite our wrinkles, different shapes, blemishes, and character flaws.
Let’s not feel rejected and useless to God. Never let us think that we’re not fit for God’s purposes, but rather be available to be used as He sees fit.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You don’t choose us according to what is visible to people. Thank You that You see our hearts and how we can be useful for Your kingdom. Thank You for using us, even when we doubt ourselves and our abilities. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Copyright © 2021, by Alice Burnett <firstname.lastname@example.org> , first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca .
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
Reprinted from PresbyCan with author’s permission