Gifts from a Jar
by Gina Welborn
|Cardamom and Browned Butter cookies|
Click HERE for the recipe!
My oldest son’s teachers were shocked that a student would bring them a goodie (mini pecan pies that you can click HERE for the recipe) on the first week of school, so his action made quite an impression.
Sadly the boy decided taking baked-goods to school was rather embarrassing. Uggh. High schoolers.
His teachers only benefited one month.
However my other kids’ teachers fared much better. And we had such a fun time baking for them. (And sampling what we baked.)
This year I’m gonna do some jar gifting thanks to a yard-sale $1 find of which I talked the gal down to 50c (my motto that day was "offer 1/2 of asking price"). The find? An excellent gift book called...
wait for it...
You saw that coming a mile away. LOL.
Get this, it has the main recipe on a page then two other pages with “tags” for six gifts. The concept, if you aren’t familiar, is layering the ingredients in the jar. I've received gifts from a jar in the past, but have never given any myself.
Let's say we want to make Rocky Road Brownies Mix. (And we do!)
So we begin with pouring in layers in a jar (Mason or reused Paul Newman spaghetti sauce one that we've thoroughly cleaned and sanitized)…
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa power
- 1 cup miniature marshmellows (place in plastic baggie, seal, and add as final layer)
It's up to the gift receiver to do something--or nothing--with the gift.
Life is a gift from a jar.
As parents, we invest in our child’s life by equipping her/him with the skills, education, and moral values s/he needs. But it’s up to our child to decide what s/he’s gonna do with those “gifts.” Sit on the shelf and expire? Or use the for what they were created for, by adding to them items that will help create a yummy, gooey batch of Rocky Road brownies. Metaphorically speaking.
God did the same for us. Only His gift was full and complete. Still it’s up to us to decide what we’re going to do with it. Add to it? Let it sit on the shelf?
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
What this treasure? The Gospel of Christ. That we can find freedom and forgiveness from our sin and have an abundant life. In Jesus. Though Jesus. Because of Jesus.
According to Merriam-Webster, abundant means, "1: a : marked by great plenty (as of resources), b : amply supplied : abounding, and 2: occurring in abundance : ample."
Plentiful. Bounteous. Cornucopian. Galore. Generous. Plenty.
Can you--can anyone around you--look at your life and say that Jesus is overflowing in your life?
Or would people say you've put a lid on and decorated it with an In-the-World-Not-of-the-World-so-I'm-not-getting-involved swatch of fabric?
God filled our jars with freedom and forgiveness and the added a dash or tablespoon of spiritual gifts. Let's take the lids off our jars so that we can give of our overflow. Kinda like Amish Friendship Bread. (Click HERE for the AFB recipe and to learn more about it.)
I think God also wants us to add to the ingredients in our jars. I'm not saying we add to our salvation so we're more saved or to ensure we stay saved. Salvation is a gift from God, not of works so that no one could boast about his/her goodness.
No, I'm talking add to who we've become so we can become more.
How do we do that? The easiest answer is "read your Bible daily and spend time talking to God; get to know Him." Amen!
Beyond that, what about doing a Bible study? The church I attend offers a handful of Bible studies for women (members of the church and not) to particpate in. I'm planning on doing Precepts: Ephesians. It's heavy on homework...which I like. In the past, I've done...
Beth Moore's Breaking Free; Esther: It's Touch Being a Woman; the Patriarchs: Encountering theGod of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and To Live is Christ: the Life and Ministry of Paul
Blackaby and King's Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God
Blackaby and Blackaby's When God Speaks
Now those were all with a group of ladies. A few times the Bible study options weren't ones I was interested in taking or couldn't because of the timing. So I went to Lifeway and found studies to do on my own. No support group. Just me and God.
Cindi Wood's The Frazzled Female: Find Peace in the Midst of Daily Life
Elisa Morgan and Carol Kykendall's What Every Mom Needs: Balancing Your Life
Vicki Courtney's Get a Life: Debunking Six Myths in the Quest for Contentment
Yes, it took me three studies to finally learn the message.
Confession time: As I was looking though my stack of Bible Study books, I found two I'd bought and never done. Eeks!
Nancy Leigh De Moss's Walking in the Truth: The Companion Guide for Lies Women Believe
Alice Bass's The Creative Life: A Workbook for Unearthing the Christian Imagination
At various times in my life, my jar has felt depleted. Empty. I have nothing more to give so leave me alone. When God didn't fill me back up with a Bible study, He used books to speak to needs, flaws, and scars in my life. To bring healing.
|Read Excerpt HERE|
Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart
Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Choices by Mary Farrar
Captivating by Stasi Eldredge
Intimate Issues by Linda Dillow and Lorraine Pintus
The Great Work of the Gospel by John Ensor
Fathered by God by John Eldredge
Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley
The Air I Breathe: Worship as a Way of Life by Louie Giglio
God created us to be vessels though which He accomplishes His work. But we will have nothing to give others if we don't have anything in our jars...or if we put the lid on...or if we take the gift we've been given and let it sit on a shelf to expire.
You are a jar. Lemme say that louder.
You. Are. A. Jar.
Take time to be filled.
Becuase you were made to be filled.
Because God wants you to overflow.
So you can be a gift to others. So you can fill others.
Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. --Matthew 7:7 (NLT)
Serious Question of the Day: Like doing Bible Studies? If so, name a favorite one and a life-changing truth God taught you through the study. How is your life changed?
Quasi-serious Question of the Day: Got any inexpensive gift ideas for this holiday season?
Non-serious Question of the Day: I'm making lined-fabric sandwich wraps for my kids' school lunches. If I made baggies, should I attach velcro to seal them closed or sew on tie strings?