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The Surprisingly Simple Lesson You Could Learn From This Jar

My wife loves this “things” jar in our bathroom. But all it does is literally sit there empty, all the while desperately yearning to be filled with something, anything! Or maybe I give it those emotions since I don’t understand why it just sits there empty. “It’s a part of the decor” she says as she walks on by. So I smile, pretend to understand and begin brushing my teeth.

But today this little empty ceramic jar became a lesson I won’t soon forget.

Things Jar

The number of times I have asked God to use me, fill me, direct me, (fill in the blank with anything) me, is too numerous to count. Yet, today standing in my bathroom with a toothbrush still lodged in my mouth it hit me.

I am the direct opposite of this tiny jar.

While it sits there empty waiting to be filled, I stand here absolutely jam packed full of things, “me things.” My time is robbed by frivolous things, my dreams are filled by vain pursuits, my life is packed with selfish things and yet I ask God to fill me. Where? With what room? When the truth is I leave little to no room for God.

So how do I begin to change this? Emptying a jar is easy, turn it over and things fall out. Emptying one’s own life isn’t as easy but this is where I am starting…

Realizing “Things” Aren’t Bad

Having things in my life isn’t bad, but having them in a messed up priority order is. Looking over my life I realized I would rather sleep, go to work, go spend time with friends, go figure out my taxes, basically anything other than spending time with God.

I go to church and feel like I did my Christian duty, but even while I am sitting there I am thinking more about lunch with friends after church than actually thinking about how this message might apply to my life. This has to change. So I am looking to actively add some time to read or podcast and grow in my time with God during the week, not just on Sundays. (Oh, and paying more attention to the teaching on Sunday and not my stomach. haha)

Realizing “Things” Can Be Removed

Looking over my life I’ve realized I’m a pretty selfish guy. I’ve chased after my wants, my desires, and my things that make me feel happy, secure or fulfilled. Adding to my earthly bank account made me feel better than adding to my heavenly one.

When God accounts for my life some day in eternity I wonder which account will fare better. What I did for myself during my life or what I did for Him? Then it hit me, how little time I give to actually serving God, when the truth is I’m making excuses to get out of it. There’s not enough time, its not very fun, my friends aren’t doing it with me, and on and on it goes.

So today it starts with me removing some of the selfish and vain pursuits that are eating up my schedule in order to make more room for the things God may be calling me to do. I am going to start small, by serving at church while looking for more areas for God to grow me and stretch me to spend more time serving Him and less time serving self.

Realizing “Things” Don’t Need to be Added to Feel Full

I can note a few times in my life where God had physically removed things from my life. Bad relationships, bad decisions, bad “things” I shoved into my life. The really sad part was that after God answered my prayers to remove things that are not of Him from my life, I just as quickly got freaked out by the empty space that I jumped into yet another bad thing to fill it up. Instead of running towards God to fulfill me, I grabbed the next shiny new toy and shoved it into place.

The idea of resting in God is something I am focusing on now to help keep me from jumping from thing to thing. Once something has been removed, I want to rest in Him and ask God to fill that hole, fill that empty space with the things He has for me instead. This will be the hardest thing for me to do, but I am willing to try. I can find plenty of ways to fill that space, the world offers no shortage of things. But if anything is going to take my empty places, I am willing to wait on my God to fill them instead.

So this is it, my simple truth learned from an empty jar: “Carlos, you’re a selfish guy who lives a life bent towards self fulfillment, but if you’d free up some of that space and hand it over to God you’d experience what real fulfillment looks like.”

Thinking back to how I looked at my wife this morning, so perplexed at why she is wasting such a perfectly good jar that is just sitting there empty. It must be how God is looking at me now, so perplexed as to why I am wasting my life filled with things that will never truly fulfill me when He is right there lovingly waiting to fill me up with things that will last forever.

Lord, help me see the areas that need to be re-prioritized, help me see the things that I don’t need, and help me to truly rest in you knowing that you are indeed the source of all good things and all I will ever need.

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