Thursday, April 10, 2008

The analogy of the dishes

I do dishes often. Make that very often. I don't even own a dishwasher, so most of the dishes in my house get washed by me. My daughter has two days a week to help out and my husband volunteers sometimes too. But that leaves a lot of opportunities for me to do lots of dishes. Some days I mind, and some days I don't.

As I was scrubbing and rinsing dishes yet again, it struck me that we are an awful lot like dishes. No, I'm not trying to insult everyone by saying they're dirty and gross and a dreaded chore!

Here's what I've come up with:
We are all like different dishes in a kitchen. Some are heavy-duty pots and pans, others are sturdy plates, tall glasses, or nice round bowls. We even get some that are like delicate fine china. We come in all different patterns, shapes, sizes, and colors. And we all have different purposes.
No matter what type of dish we are, though, we aren't useful unless we're actually being used! We're not made to be special edition plates that hang on the wall, or pretty little tea cups that line a shelf. We're the type that need to be used to cook, carry, and serve. We're meant to help feed the hungry and alleviate someone's thirst. And no matter what our purpose is, we all get dirty. It's inevitable. We can't keep ourselves 100% clean if we're being used (living in this world.)
I'm not saying this is a perfect analogy, but I like to think about what the Savior does with His "dishes." He picked us out, bought us, and brought us home. He then makes use of us to be able to create sumptuous feasts or to offer "living water" to one of His guests. And when He sees that we've gotten a bit grungy, He's happy to take us to the sink and wash us. He doesn't do this just once or twice; His is an ongoing commitment to keep us clean! He's willing to get His hands dirty and scrub, wash, and polish His "dishes" until they shine.
And then we do it all over again. Day in and day out we're busy serving the Lord and His children. We're fulfilling our purposes and bringing joy and enjoyment to others. And we're not feeling weighed down with guilt or feelings of inadequacy because we know we're doing what we were made to do. And we have complete faith that Jesus will take care of us and keep us clean and whole.
We're no ordinary dishes. We've got the best owner possible. We'll never be sold, traded, given away, or thrown out. He will never let His dishes sit in filth for days or weeks on end. And He knows how to make the most out of each and every one. No dish is useless or unwanted in His home. Each dish is loved and valued and is always worth His efforts to keep them clean and in good condition.
I feel very much like a teapot, short and stout, or maybe a bowl or even a saucepan. I'm not sure what kind of dish I am. What I do know is that I'm one of the Savior's dishes, and that alone makes me pretty special!


Dory said...

Patty, you are incredible. What a beautiful comparison. I think the kind of dish we feel like varies with where we are in life. Lately, I feel like that grungy tupperware plate that only the kids use. :)

Mama D said...

This is an amazing analogy! This really hits home for me. I like thinking of myself as one of Christ's dishes. We aren't meant to decoratively hang on a wall or sit on a shelf... We are meant to be used and needed and taken care of -- and yes, get dirty and need to be washed.

I like what Dory said about the kind of dish we feel like relating to where we are in life. Dory, grungy tupperware plate or not, you're still needed!!! (If only by your kids...)

Not sure what I am... maybe one of those heavy-duty pots because surely over the past 4 years I would have cracked by now if I was anything less sturdy and resilient!!

Patty said...

Way to go mommy! Why don't you ever tell me this stuff???!! I mean SERIOUSLY... anyways. Love you :) I feel like my favorite spoons, I'm always needed by someone!!!

Patty said...

P.S., I'm Aimee...Uh, ignore what it says...I'm think my mom is still logged on...oops. :P

chelle said...

thanks for that thoughful insight. I too often feellike the "special dishes" that someone is holding in the china cabinet for that special day that enver comes.
I needed to hear this! :D

Papa D said...

"No matter what type of dish we are, though, we aren't useful unless we're actually being used!"

That is profound, Patty - as is the entire post.

Leslie said...

I loved this analogy! Thanks for sharing. I love when the things around us everyday can help us to understand the gospel. Thanks for sharing your insights. I know I will ponder this for years and years as I am cleaning my own dishes!

Sarah said...

I like it. Although, I'm very glad I have a dishwasher. You're tough. I couldn't do it without.

I have to tell you a story that you will appreciate. Scott was teaching Sunday School at our BYU student ward and to start the lesson he put three dashes on the board and started with an analogy and the class was supposed to guess what the topic was.

He said "Every body does it, it's like the dirty dishes in the sink, everybody has them and we don't really want to talk about it or even think about it usually."

They weren't getting it, so he aded the first letter, it said
"S_ _" on the board

Scott says "Come on, everybody does it, but we don't talk about dirty dishes..."

ANd the whole class is muttering and laughing...Can you see what they imagined it to be?

Anyway, the lesson was on SIN, not SEX. and it ended up being a good lesson, but very funny. So that's what I think any time anyone says dirty dishes. (sorry it was so long!)