“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus …” Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)

Flat, I thought as I bent my ear to the mandolin strings. Can’t tune it here, I’ll just listen. As a newcomer to the group, I decided to sit on the sidelines and enjoy the Saturday morning bluegrass get together at Richard’s Coffee Shop in downtown Mooresville. These spontaneous sessions are woven into the greater musical culture all over North Carolina and listening to them will make anyone a Bluegrass lover forever. In my town, the military museum/coffee shop opens their doors to anyone with a stringed instrument. Beginners and veteran musicians play together in a grand makeshift band.

I glanced down at my grandfather’s mandolin cradled in my arms with its tiny nicks on the face and the yellowed ivory pegs that turned so stiffly. I longed to join in. But as a beginning player, I didn’t want to add any sour notes to the lively group cooking up a musical storm.

Too late. A jovial musician spied me in the back of the store and waved me into the group. With a bit of a stomach flip-flop, I stood up and walked to the middle of the circle where I scooted into the only open chair. Maybe I could just pretend to pick my instrument.

My plan of being low-key and inconspicuous evaporated.

“Where did you get that instrument?” a grisly guitar player with a flowing beard bellowed during a rare break. I didn’t know what to say. Is he accusing me of something?  Does he think I borrowed someone else’s?

I smiled and answered with a sheepish grin. “Well, I pulled this out of the bottom of my mother’s hall closet. No one had played it for years so I thought I’d take it for a spin.”

Suddenly, every musician’s eyes fixed on my instrument. After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, another member spoke up. “Hey there, what you’ve got is a classic. You’d better get that appraised and insured.”Hesitantly, a reedy banjo player next to me leaned over and asked if he could hold it for just a minute.

Hesitantly, a reedy banjo player next to me leaned over and asked if he could hold it for just a minute. “I won’t even play it,” he assured me. “It’s a treasure.”

I handed it over, amazed at the gift I’d found.

In 2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV), it says “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not us.”  Hidden inside of us God has placed His gem, the indwelling of His spirit in our earthly bodies.  The container may have dents, cracks, and chips. Part of the glaze may have worn off of the exterior but God still sees us as treasures. Isn’t it just like God to rummage through a dusty coat closet and haul us out to be used for His purposes? He doesn’t want to waste anyone’s life stuffed in some gloomy dark storage area. And not only does he use us for His plans, He also takes great joy in passing us around to be admired as His treasures.  To God, we are His “classics”.

Copyright © 2017 Carol Stratton. Used by permission.