Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lessons from Canning

I've spent quite a few hours canning this summer and of course, have had hours to think. I realized that there are quite a few life lessons that can be taken from canning.

Anything worth doing well takes time.

How often do we want to rush through things in our lives? We want instant results. We want it now and have a hard time waiting. Canning takes tons of patience and time. Yet, in the cold winter we always appreciate the fruit of our labor. God's word tells us, "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." It's not easy to wait, yet when we wait on God and listen to what He wants for our lives, it's always good!

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♥ Canning is messy.

I have never been able to can without causing some mess. I had to laugh the other day because I was pressing tomatoes through my tomato press and at the very first squeeze of the tomatoes, juice went flying into my face and all over the table and floor. There are always drips and spills. I often spend more time cleaning up afterwards than actually canning.

Life is like this too. Whenever you are involved in others' lives it will get messy. That is part of being a follower of Christ. You cannot help others without feeling their pain and hurt at times. Helping others can be inconvenient. Yet it is what Jesus calls us to do. It's about pointing people to the one who can clean up their messes and lives!

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♥ One bad apple spoils the barrel.

It's really important to cut out the bad spots while canning fruits and vegetables. One bad spot can ruin a whole batch. Isn't this true in our own life too? It reminds me of I Corinthians 15:33, "Bad company ruins good morals." We need to make sure that we are hanging with the right people. I've worked with so many young women who fall in love with the wrong type of guy. They think that they are going to change him. However, what usually happens is that he brings her down to his level. Choose your friends wisely!

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♥ You have to listen for the pop!

You know that lovely "pop" sound that a jar makes when it seals? I love that sound! It means that all my hard work has paid off. The jars have actually sealed properly and will stay fresh for months to come. That is the same "pop" you hear with your children at times. The pop that means after years of training and teaching, they "get it". They understand what you have been teaching them and you see the light bulb go on. It's a wonderful moment!

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♥ At times you have to start all over.

I've made so many batches of jam that seemed like it was just perfect and I've poured it into the jars just to find out that it never sets like it should. Then I have to unseal the jars, pour the jam back into the pan, re-clean and re-sterilize the jars and start all over. UGH!

Yet, how often in our lives do we have to do the very same thing? We have high hopes about something or a desire to live like Christ. Then we mess up, stumble and fall. We have to ask for forgiveness, pick ourselves up and start all over again! It's so much more work, but God's mercy is wonderful and if we keep persevering we will achieve the character we desire.

♥ A feeling of satisfaction of a job well done.

I love looking at all the jars lined up in my pantry when I am totally finished canning. I love the feeling I get of knowing I worked hard and have the proof to show it.

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I think that this will be some of the feeling we get at the end our lives when we stand before the Lord and He says to us, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" Our lives can be very difficult right now. We can want to give up along the way. But someday we can feel the wonderful satisfaction that we followed the Lord and did His will while we were here. We will have all eternity to enjoy the fruits of our labors on earth!