On the end table next to my side of the couch is a small metal case with several wooden coasters stacked neatly on top of each other. The purpose of a coaster is to ensure that a container will not leave a residual ring on the surface of wherever it is set. What I really like about the set of coasters next to my couch is that they came from my grandparent’s house. However, that is not the only thing that makes them special. These particular coasters are made of small round cuts of wood that have been glued to one another.
When I set my drink on one of these coasters, the pieces of wood absorb the condensation rather than the piece of wood the serves as the top of the end table. It’s odd that I place more value in one piece of wood than I do in another, but the point remains… I need this coaster to absorb the ring so that my end table doesn’t look all messed up when people come over to our home.
God speaks through the apostle Paul in Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Paul is speaking to the church in Colossae, reminding them that they are to be like Christ, absorbing the blemishes of sin in order that each member of the church is presented holy before God (Eph 5:27; Rom 12:1).
I love looking at how the coaster is made up of all these parts, but I wonder how well it would serve its purpose if one of the pieces of wood happened to be missing. I would end up with a weird stain on the table that would be evident to anyone who visited our house.
We as a church are given the great purpose of holding on to one another even when problems may persist. As people being sanctified by Christ we must be intentional about forgiveness, our purpose is not to sit on the shelf and wait for new Creation but to serve specifically for the forgiveness of others. We bear with one another so that the stains and blemishes can be absorbed. You know a coaster does its job well when it can absorb a lot of liquid and yet never let the ring show. How much greater is the body of Christ when compared to a silly coaster?
This week we can pray that we would be a forgiving people. We praise God that in Christ we are made holy and without blemish, just as our fellow brothers and sisters. And we’re made to hold each other up! Let’s pray for unity in our church and that we would be mindful of bearing each other’s burdens. Ask God in prayer who you can forgive today? Who can you ask forgiveness from today?
Pastor Chris Osterbrock
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com