When We Mess Up

©Joy Dunlap  https://joydunlap.com

Being lent something hasn’t always worked out well for me – or the one who loaned it.

The smell permeating my house made it difficult to breathe. In less than 30 minutes, about 35-40 people were due to arrive at our house for an event we were hosting for my husband’s work.  My eyes watering, I raced to the kitchen to see what could be causing the stench.

There in the bottom of a beverage carafe, I discovered the source.

My friend had graciously loaned me her electric dispenser as an efficient way to distribute hot cider at the party. Earlier, I had plugged it in, then went to get the cider out of the fridge.

Along the way, I got distracted doing other things.

Now looking into the deep carafe, what I saw shocked and embarrassed me. Apparently, the coffee strainer had been in the bottom of the server so the heat melted it into a stinky blob of rubber.

If only I’d looked inside. 

I’d ruined the dispenser loaned to me; the house smelled like a tire bonfire; and people would be arriving any minute.  Racing around, I opened windows and lit candles hoping to get rid of as much of the smell as possible – and cover up my mistake.

In this season of Lent, I’m reflecting that what we have is because of the Lord’s generosity and lovingkindness.

God has, in effect, “loaned” each of us certain skills, financial resources and intellect to use for His glory here on earth. The tools and talents God provides are not ours to hoard, but instead are for us to bless and encourage others and to give them back as offerings to Him.

When something is lent, we desire to get it back.  We allow someone to use an item with the hope that the one to whom we entrusted it will use it in a good way.

My friend lent me her beverage dispenser so I could serve others efficiently and so we could all more easily enjoy the event.

My inattentiveness, distractedness, and failure to look inside caused me to damage that vessel. I missed the opportunity to serve others effectively using what was entrusted to me. What should have been the sweet smell of apple cider wafting through the house was instead replaced by an awful burnt rubber scent.

What helped remove the stench?  The damaged carafe was moved to the basement (and later into the trash), and the fresh air flowed in.  After confessing to my friend, I replaced the damaged carafe with a newer and better model; and I chose one for myself too.

After all, more opportunities await to experience and share sweet tastes and scents!

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.  1 Peter 4:10 NIV

  • What have you loaned someone in the past?  A book?  Household item?  Money?  Did you get it back?
  • Can you think of something lent to you that you damaged?  (Surely, I’m not the only one!)
  • In what ways are the traits and talents God has entrusted to you being used?
  • What is one thing you can you do this Lenten season to use your time and talents in an enhanced way for the Kingdom of God?

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10 NIV


Life is Better When It’s Full – Joy-full, Thank-full, Purpose-full and Friend-full! ™


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