Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Lobster Bisque in a Paper Cup

Discussion Questions

What would it take for you to believe that God loves who you REALLY are?

What do you think Matt Fitzgerald means when he says that for the rest of your life, you will always be faced with “the problem of yourself”?  How does God enter into living with that “problem”?

1 Samuel 16: 7-13

 When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is now before the Lord.”[a] But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. He said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel, and Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen any of these.” 11 Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him; for we will not sit down until he comes here.” 12 He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. The Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; for this is the one.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the presence of his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. Samuel then set out and went to Ramah.


Lobster Bisque in a Paper Cup

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from ourselves.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7

I’m a sucker for chunky lobster bisque.

It’s a pricey, hoity toity sort of dish, typically served in gourmet establishments, which means I don’t enjoy it very often. The best I’ve ever tasted was at The Harbor Gawker, a funky little takeout café on Vinalhaven, Maine, served in a large paper cup.

The contrast was not lost on me. The humble container might have made the bisque taste all the better to a cheapskate like me…that and the outstanding harbor view off the restaurant’s back deck.

When Paul describes us as “earthen vessels” in the verse above, he doesn’t use the word for “good china.” He’s talking about ordinary, everyday dishes. In effect, Paul is saying, “We’re not vases from the Ming dynasty. We’re the paper cups you find in aisle five at Walmart.”

Yet God has dumped her jewelry box into the likes of us to make the contents shine all the more. After all, diamonds stand out better on a pile of dirt than in a pile of treasure. And this heaven-in-an-earthen-cup image has profound import for us. Whenever we think poorly of ourselves, it helps to remember that we are not only “stardust” as Carl Sagan famously said, we are dust that carries the priceless power of God. Conversely, whenever we think too highly of ourselves, it helps to recall that we are only a paper cup.

Never forget that you have eternal value as God’s beloved vessel. If you need a good cup of bisque to remind you, I’ll meet you on Vinalhaven.


God, may I treasure you today as you treasure me.