Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 20 - Before and After

Lessons from Jam Making

Crabapple House is a big home on a tiny block of land. Somehow we've managed to squeeze as many fruit bearing trees in here as well as berry plants and a veggie garden, all to satisfy my longing to live on a farm. (Still don't have that goat though. Perhaps I'll get one for Mother's Day.)

What I do have is the bounty of summer, all lined up like soldiers in my hallway cupboard. My personal treasure trove of home-made goodies, preserved to last all year long. And my favourite, is apricot jam.

Each summer we fight the rosellas for fruit and this year was no different. Thankfully, it's a win-win for us both. They come to pick the trees clean, we hear and run out to frighten them away. To mock us, they peck as much fruit as they can reach before flying away, and we snatch it back and bring it in to cover the kitchen table.

At some point, when we're drowning in apricots, we turn it into jam or sauce. Luscious and sweet, I love to see my ripe fruit, some blemished by the sun, others casualties of bird attack, saved and turned into something with a purpose.

And here's what I've learned from summer jam making.

1. Real jam requires a mercy mission. If we don't rescue this fruit, it's destined to rot where it sits. The birds only take small chunks out of each apricot and move on to destroy more. But add some sugar and fire and what once had such limitations, now lives again. Sound familiar? I know what it means to be rotten and ready to shrivel. As a child of God, I've been transformed into something so much better. I now have an eternal future. And while I'm not a fan of fiery trials, I know without them, I'd still be a rotten mess.

2. Real jam requires sacrifice. It takes time to make jam. A full day of stirring, an upturned kitchen and in my case, a burn or two. The process of transformation is costly to me. But I'm prepared to go through it because I value my fruit and have a plan for it. And I'm comforted to know God does not give up on the task of redeeming us. It cost His son to snatch us from death. He, more than anyone, is acquainted with the suffering which comes from being the Redeemer.

3. Real jam requires a purpose. My jam is useless in the jar. While I love to look at my bottles of fruity promise, they're only sitting pretty if they stay on the shelf. Dusting their lids does not make me as happy as when I pop open a jar and make my kids P B and J sandwiches or slather a batch of scones with fresh jam. Some breaking is required when others are to be blessed by my work. A disturbance of my neatly ordered shelf. The emptying of bottles I filled to the brim.

I want to know I am not just sitting pretty in a jar, waiting for the day when being saved means I go to heaven. I want to know God's purpose for me is being fulfilled, today. Are you saved by God but still stuck somehow? Sitting pretty, but blessing no one?

If you're not sure, perhaps you can begin by asking the Redeemer.

How can God use you this week, now that you've been transformed from almost rotten to delicious? How can your sweetness make someone's life richer?