A soapy story of encouragement

tilley soap

I had coffee with a friend and we had the most amazing time of fellowship. I love it when you visit with someone and you leave with your inner-man refreshed and refuelled. We said our goodbyes and as I was getting out of the car she reached into her bag and fished out a bar of soap. She apologised that she had not wrapped it and whispered, “I am not sure why I am giving this to you, but I know there is a reason.” I took the naked bar of soap feeling its smooth surfaces and breathed in the fragrance. I wondered why soap, why that colour, why a rectangular bar of soap, why that fragrance….I may have sniffed myself too to check that it was not a personal hygiene gift that I was mistaking for prophetic.

The soap was placed on my shelf in the walk-in wardrobe. I would glance at it in the morning and evening, I never prayed about it. It just sat there being a rectangular piece of soap with a soft sandalwood fragrance, cream in colour with little streaks of brown. Just soap. Just there. Just being, until I was cleaning the shower and realised that I needed to replace the soap. We had used the bar of soap that was there and to maintain our personal hygiene I needed to replace that bar with a new one. On my way passed the shelf to the laundry I saw the soap, just sitting there. I picked it up and thought that it may be good to use this soap, after all that is what it is soap.

That evening I picked up the unassuming bar of soap. A soap that I had been given by a dear friend. I know that this friend never just gives gifts and what she gives is always prayed over. As I was using the bar I was aware that it was hard to use, the edges were sharp, it was not easy to hold as it was new, unused and a little hard. The fragrance was clean and fresh and it did what soap does. It has been a week now and the soap has softened edges, the little brown streaks that were visible have deepened to reveal rich orangery-gold  layers within the soap, it is so beautiful. The fragrance is stronger now that the soap has been used. It is easier to hold and use, it no longer does what soap does. This soap reminds me that our gifts are like a bar of soap. They are given to us and hold exceeding potential that need to be used, to reveal the fragrance and to cleanse.

If I had left the soap on the shelf, it would still just be a rectangular bar of soap with faint brown lines, hard edges and a faint fragrance. In the hands of the owner this soap is used, softened by the water (Living Water) to refresh, fragrant and cleanse. To reveal a deeper beauty that was hidden before. What can you be in the hands of the Master? What waters does He take you through to reveal that inner beauty by removing the outer layers? How does He soften you and form you from a sharp edged-being into a shape moulded by His hand? What beauty lies within your inner being? What fragrance is revealed by the cleansing of Yeshua’s blood?

You see, my friend had no idea what she was giving me, a bar of naked soap. The naked truth. Something that has to be used, not just left. The other lesson here is that we should listen carefully when we are asked to hand things to our brothers and sisters in Christ. It may not make any sense to you, but when He reveals to the receiver the secret of the gift then there is a renewing of mind, and growth in the inner being. To top this off another friend sent me Ephesians 4:23 this morning, just in case I had doubted that I need to be like a bar of soap and avail myself to the Master so that I can be all He has planned for me to be.



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