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A Lesson from the Cabinet Shelf

Posted on 03 Feb 2019

February 3, 2019

Matthew 6:24-34

Rev. Kristen J. Kleiman


Once upon a time, there was a set of little penguin-shaped mugs. One had a red scarf and the other a blue. They were given to a family as a Christmas present and when the holidays were over, they were washed, dried, and placed carefully in the cabinet with teacups, thermoses, and other mugs.

It was nice in the cabinet. It was cozy in the cabinet. They were together in the cabinet. And then one day, the cabinet door opened; a hand reached in and took the red penguin mug off the shelf, closing the cabinet door behind them.

“What is happening?” the little blue penguin mug cried out. Where was his friend going?

“She’s being used,” came a voice from behind him in the dark.

The little blue mug turned and discovered the voice belonged to a travel mug.

“Used? What does ‘used’ mean?”

“Oh, it’s a horrible thing where you get touched and filled with who knows what and banged about and put down who knows where!”


The little blue mug didn’t know what these words meant, but he understood the tone of the travel mug’s voice. He understood that these were very bad things, very bad things indeed, and he began to worry for his friend and worry just a little bit for himself.

The travel mug wasn’t finished though. “Just look, look at him,” the travel mug said, pointing to a pretty, white teacup with gold swirls on it.

The teacup was so far back in the cabinet that the little blue mug had never noticed it before, but now that he did, he was amazed by the teacup’s beauty.

And then, the teacup turned slightly, and the little blue mug saw it. A crack! A long gray line running all the way down the teacup’s side!

“You’re broken!” the little mug exclaimed.

“Yes, broken, cracked, – all because I was used!” the teacup said quite pitifully, “which is why I stay in the back of the cabinet. Staying in the back of the cabinet keeps you safe.”

“Or stumf safe ool” came a new voice. This time from a mug covered in snowflakes and stuffed with a bag of marshmallows and numerous candy canes.

“Pardon me?” said the little blue mug.

“I said, I stay safe by keeping full” replied the overstuffed snowflake mug. “I was a Christmas present five years ago, and I’m proud to say that I have never been used because I am so full of stuff. My stuff keeps me from being used. My stuff keeps me safe. That’s my motto – fill yourself up with stuff and you will always be safe. And that’s what it’s all about – being safe.”

The travel mug and the teacup both vigorously nodded in agreement.


“What kind of silliness are you telling him?” came another voice from the cabinet shelf. This time from an orangey-brown mug that was uniquely shaped like a flower pot.

“I leave the cabinet all of the time. I get used, filled with tea, coffee, hot chocolate and it all works out just fine. Look at me. I’m here, aren’t I?”


The little blue mug was getting very confused. “Aren’t you scared? Aren’t you scared that someone might break you or leave you who knows where?”

“Well, sure I’m afraid sometimes, but I’m not going to let fear be the master of my life. I decided long ago to let my maker be the master of my life – and you cannot have two masters, so fear just had to go.”

“And it was that easy?”


“Of course not,” replied the flower pot mug, “I have my moments, but I also know why my maker made me – so I could and would be useful.

My maker does not want me to be filled with fear; my maker wants me to be filled with blessings, to be a blessing. And so whenever I begin to feel anxious or afraid, I simply say, ‘I trust my maker.’ ‘I trust my maker.’ And it helps me remember who is really in charge of my life and our world. And once I do that, there is no more room in my mind or heart for worry or fear. Only room for blessings.”


There are so many things to be afraid of in our world: the immigrant crisis on our southern border; gun violence; will there be another government shutdown in 12 days? Is it cancer? Will anyone sign up for this new ministry? Will the church have enough money for our ministries? Do I have enough milk in the fridge? Do I have enough money in the bank?

There are so many things to worry about in our world, and we can try to keep ourselves safe by worshipping money, by worshipping stuff, even by worshipping worry itself – or we can trust God.

Or we can trust God.

And that’s not to say that once we commit to God and Jesus’ way, that we will never worry or feel anxious again. That’s unrealistic. We are human. We will worry and be afraid.

And when we are, that’s when we most need to say (over and over again), “I trust God”. That’s when we need to remember that God made us, that God is always with us, that God is amazing, that God loves us beyond belief, and that no matter what comes, the bumps, the cracks, the failures, the hardships, we can trust God –or at least say it until we do again.


I trust God. I trust God. I trust God.