One of my husband’s co-workers requested two glass jars–one to hold hot chocolate mix and another to hold cookies.
We picked out two jars and sent them in to work for her to pick up.
Later when I asked if the jars were what she was imagining, she was honest enough to reply, “They were not exactly what I was imagining, but they are perfect. I just need to find time to fill them.”
I fell all over myself apologizing that we had missed the mark, but she sagely replied, “Sometimes what we are imagining is not exactly what we need. These will be GREAT!”
Isn’t this so true of life? Sometimes I sit and daydream envisioning what I think I need to be or do or look like, yet that ideal is totally different than what I am best suited to do. I imagine getting dressed in a trendy suit and going to a really important job every day, or being an amazing leader who is highly sought after to write, speak, or mentor.
This jar bungle got me thinking and led me to the conclusion that the importance of a jar lies in its usefulness. Not in how pretty it looks, the large price tag it boasts, and especially not in how dusty it can get sitting idle in the cabinet above my oven. A jar is simply meant to be used…for something.
I’m amazed at how often jars are mentioned in the Bible, and for what purposes! Made of common, unimportant stuff like mud, clay or stone, jars are more often than I ever noticed before THE exalted yet vapid vessel used for delivering a miracle. Water to wine, never ending supply of oil, dousing what would be a miraculous burnt offering, hiding torches, supplying blood for tabernacle offerings, holding life-giving water, ceremonial washing, storing food for drought season, and being used to describe Christ-followers as the dish that displays the power of God.
Although I love the jars of clay reference in 2 Corinthians 4:7, I was almost giddy when I found a similar set of verses in 2 Timothy 2: 20-21 encouraging me to be a “special utensil” for God. They spoke to me in a Food Networky kind of way.
“In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing.”
I don’t have to be perfect. I might not end up looking Ann Taylor groomed as I imagine myself to be. I’m learning to be gratified in striving to seek God’s will, to meet Him in my t-shirt and jeans and be the vessel that brings glory to Him, not the star bringing attention to myself. As long as I am earnestly seeking to be holy, set apart, and used, then God will use my imperfect jar to dole out His blessings on others. Much like Dan’s friend uses her unexpected Ikea jar to dispense cookies to her co-workers.