Worthy Shrimp: What God Can Do With What You've Got

This morning the girls and I watched “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”, a documentary following the world’s best sushi chef, the 85 year old Jiro Ono working in Tokyo, Japan.

About halfway through, Jiro’s team shops at the fish market. Every vendor saves their best product for Jiro’s use. On this particular day, there’s a shrimp shortage, hardly any shrimp at all. Of course, there are shrimp for Jiro.

The shrimp purveyor says, “Sometimes I see the day’s shrimp and think “Ahhhh! This is shrimp worthy of Jiro.”

I scrawled those words on a yellow legal pad, and let them soak in.

Worthy shrimp.

Like Jiro’s son shopping the market, God searches our crowded planet for resources, stuff He can make something of.

Yeah, God is good at making. And because His talent is unmatched He can make a lot out of not very much.

Still.

 There’s something in me that feels just like the shrimp guy when, by chance or plan, hard work or fluke, I produce something “worthy of God.”

Ahhhh…

In Colossians 1:10 Paul prays that the church would “live a life worthy of the Lord… bearing fruit in every good work.”

In Thessalonians he prays again, “that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”

I like that both times he uses the image of fruit.

Here in Austin, people take their produce seriously. We like it organic and local. We want to meet the farmer at the farmer’s market and ask her questions about soil and composting and whatnot. My family doesn’t always buy our produce this way, but we appreciate it. This week we splurged and bought melon and tomatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots from Johnson’s Backyard Garden.

You guys, their fruit is gorgeous—so obviously grown with care and attention to detail. This morning Justin cut the melon, drizzled it with honey, and served it with basil and mint he’d grown himself.

Perfect.

They say you can’t make quality food without quality ingredients.

I think that’s why God puts so much care in growing His people. Without Him we’re worthless. Spam. Not even Spam. Maybe High Fructose Corn Syrup. But with Him, our very essence is transformed.

Somehow being in Christ, the Spirit being in us, changes our quality.

When we “live a life worthy of the Lord” we’re opening ourselves up to the transforming work of God. We make ourselves available to the call of God. We submit to the will of God. And in doing that, we allow God to make us worthy.

That sounds strange, maybe even heretical, to presume an ability to “allow” our sovereign God. I believe God will do exactly as He pleases with whomever He pleases. But, from all I’ve read in scripture, it seems more often He prefers to work with and in the willing.

And when we’re willing, He works wonders.

That sushi chef, Jiro, to watch him cook is to watch something magical. The way he uses a knife… They say a meal at his restaurant might only last 15 minutes—he offers no appetizers, no dessert. When that happens, Jiro’s meal is the most expensive per minute in the world.

But, according to just about everybody, it’s also one of the best.

That’s why his providers so eagerly save their best ingredients for him. It’s why his rice source refuses to sell Jiro’s favorite rice variety to any other purchaser. Because when they offer up what they have to Jiro, what they have is multiplied, made beautiful and better, elevated to the highest level of quality, perfection.

That’s why I’m reaching for worthy shrimp—for good works bearing fruit. It’s why I try so hard to make good choices. It’s why I pray so hard for God to give me wisdom, to fill me with His Spirit, to lead me, to make me…

Because I want to be a part of what God’s doing. Because I know in offering up my very best to God He will multiply it, making it beautiful and better, elevated, perfect.