I spent the day yesterday polishing silver. This will be my second year working the Masters Golf Tournament. This will be the second year that the “cabins” (I use that word loosely … these three buildings are more like chalets) have been used. They were only completed a few months before last year’s tournament. Having been built recently, they are stocked with items that are also new. The creamers, coffee and water decanters, bread trays, large serving dishes and ice buckets are all silver. They were all used last year and a few times throughout the year. Though not black with tarnish, they were definitely showing signs of use. So, one of my jobs yesterday in preparation for the use of the building by guests, was to polish silver.
During the early part of the morning, I was alone, in the kitchen with a tub of Wrights and a row of silver. As I stood and worked, my mind continued to ponder this issue of tarnishing
and how it is metaphorically like our spirit.
Aren’t we like this silver? Crafted of fine material, created by a Master, set apart as prized for our workmanship, beautiful to gaze upon? And like this ice bucket with its heavy tarnish around the rim where it’s been touched and handled most frequently, we are affected by the world that we live in.
Daily exposure to the things around us can leave us black around the edges. If we aren’t careful to keep ourselves clean, that tarnish can eventually turn green, do damage and injure our very structure. But, with the right tools (silver cream and soft cloth for the inanimate – Bible and prayer for living) and a little elbow grease, we can remain a gleaming piece of craftsmanship … not perfect, by any means, but obviously cared for and intricately beautiful, none-the-less.
As the tarnish was removed from the ice bucket, a distinct marring began to emerge. Evidently, this bucket had been nested inside another bucket which had rubbed it and marred the finish. No amount of polish and cloth would remove these scratches. I guess a silversmith might be able to buff them out, but the bucket would never truly be as it was when it was originally created. And aren’t we like that? When we choose to be spend our time with some thing or person that isn’t a good fit for us? We change … we are marred or marked or changed some how. It just happens. We must choose carefully whose lives we choose to be nested inside. There are times when we have no choice about the people in our lives – in our workplace, church, neighborhood, etc…. But, those who are closest to us should be carefully chosen. Those are the lives that are nested – the lives that can insulate and protect or marr and damage.
And lastly, when I began my adventure with polish, the bottom of the bucket was a smooth dark color. I was surprised to find, as I made my small, simple circles with cloth and polish, that there was a name written there…. not just a name …. but this company is even a Father and Son team!
I’m sure this theme will return throughout my week, as we use these fine pieces of silver daily to serve the guests in our cabin. I look forward to continuing to hear and see God use ice buckets and creamers to illustrate spiritual principles in our physical world.