The Parable of the Plug

If you have ever been to my house, you might have noticed the small little “coffee nook” we have. Actually, I think it was meant to be a desk area, but that wouldn’t work for more reasons than one, so a coffee nook it became. For close to five years this nook has seen plenty of action and served us well during times of fellowship, Bible studies, and entertaining friends—providing a gathering spot for those late nights where good times demanded a little extra caffeine.

If you looked close enough in the corner of the nook you will find a single plug that once supplied the power to our coffee brewer. This little guy worked hard for several years as our church grew from our living room to where we are today. He was an important and necessary conduit that for all practical purposes helped launch a church. He was faithful. He didn’t complain about the late nights that we asked him to put in. He had a purpose and we used him often.

One day, our plug decided to hold some things in. It started slowly. Little by little he began to not put as much energy and commitment into his ministry. He started to hold onto some of the energy meant to freely flow through him. He started to get hot when we tried to use him. We should have seen the signs, but for whatever reason we didn’t. We were busy trying to go after the vision and thought we were all on the same page. We had no idea the little guy was holding back, not letting go of some things, and getting hot all about it.

Eventually this type of behavior led to the plug’s destruction. It stopped the flow of that which he was designed to transfer and caused him to overheat, which eventually led to a meltdown (literally). He became dangerous and destructive to all those around him, even melting the cord closest to him. Therefore, we had to stop using him. We didn’t want to, but to do so would put too many people at risk.

Where is the plug now, you ask? Oh, he still hangs out isolated in the corner of the nook. The fellowship he once helped foster and encourage has moved on though. To this day, he still can’t seem to let go of some things although he has cooled off. He often still thinks about the good ol’ days, but his pride won’t allow him to let go of the past—his plastic is too warped and hard. So there he sits … alone, melted, and unusable.

Note: This parable was inspired by an illustration I shared in a recent message on Ephesians 6:10 and how it was written in the context of relationships.



  1. Thanks Pastor Zack. I fell upon this after scoping out your site, nice and full after a Burger boy run and saw a postcard. My husband and I are plugs! We are are those burned out plugs that could feel the HEAT! Accept we feel like the wrong appliance is being plugged into us and not used properly. Anyway, this was right on time and a great illustration and confirmation.

    1. Christina, thanks for commenting. It’s always nice to hear that a post is timely in someone’s life.

      I can certainly understand where you are coming from feeling the “wrong appliance” was being plugged in. God created us and wired us with a particular purpose. It is important to understand that purpose and how it fits into the local church. We are all parts of the same body, but are set in order by God alone. I think about a 220V appliance trying to fit into 120V plug… major sparks will fly, and it could be dangerous for everyone. And while we certainly can’t make a 220v appliance fit a 120v plug, we can discover where they best fit in the house. Unfortunately, sometimes we learn by trial and error.

      If I may encourage you … stand firm in the grace by which God called both you and your husband. Let go of the “heat” by being graceful with others. God has great things for you both, but you hold the choice to either let go of past hurts and move forward by the grace of God or to stay “burned.” Flow with God and his purpose and I believe you will find much joy.

      In the words of Henry Blackaby, “”Find out what God is doing and join Him.”


  2. I completely feel you on this, sadly enough though Im the plug that burnt out and got tossed aside because I couldn’t be used since I wouldn’t allow myself to be. Now I gotta start back at square one at some point and get back on track.

    1. Ben, no shame in getting back on track. Most of us at one point or another have been at that place. Sometimes the most courageous thing to do is to get back up after having been knocked down. You got it in you—zeal, fire, passion—just give it all to God and getting back on track won’t be as hard as it seems. It’s God’s amazing grace at work in us helps us when we are weak. “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.” ~Eph. 6:10. Can’t wait to see you and the family someday.

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