The Thanksgiving Mayonnaise Jar

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. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6: 32 -33)

Before you sit down with your family and friends for Thanksgiving dinner this year take a few moments to have each member reflect on their priorities in life.   Place two large mayonnaise jars (any large jar will do) on the table.  Have you or your children fill the jar with as many golf balls as it can hold.  After you have filled it ask your family, “Is the jar full?”  Your children will probably say with absolutely certainly that it is.    Then proceed to fill the jar with marbles or small beads.  Ask your question again, “Is the jar full?”  Your children will probably hesitate, but then will agree that it is full.  Then fill the jar up with as much sand as it can hold.  Ask your family if it is full now. Then proceed to pour water in the jar.   Is it full now?    It will be interesting to see what they say.

Fill the second jar with sand and water.  Ask them if the jar is full.   Have them see if they can add any marbles or golf balls to it after it is filled with sand and water.

Ask your family to guess what they think the meaning is to the Thanksgiving lesson you are going to share with them about priorities.   The winner gets first dibs at dessert or has the honor of giving the Thanksgiving prayer.     Now here is the meaning of this teachable moment.   The golf balls represent the important things in your life.   The Scripture would define those as your relationship with God, your family, your friends, fellows Christians, and those you are trying to win to the kingdom of God.   The marbles represent your dreams, hopes, jobs, role in the home, or role at school, and financial responsibilities.   The sand represents your recreational pursuits, hobbies, and pastimes. The water is the everyday mundane things you must do to survive like eating and sleeping.

Ask your family which jar represents the way God would desire each of us to live.  Tell them that God wants us to make plenty of room in our lives for the relationships that are most important. In Matthew 22: 37-39. He says,  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

If you fill your jar with only sand and water, then all you would have in life is the recreational pursuits, hobbies, pastimes, and the everyday things needed to physically survive.  This is no life at all, definitely not the one God planned for you.

Lead your family into a prayer of Thankfulness for the “golf balls” in their lives.  Have them thank God for the “marbles, sand, and water”.  Have each one ask God to help them prioritize and keep everything in their jar in spiritual order.

Thanksgiving was a special holiday inaugurated over 200 years ago by a President who filled his jar with the right priorities.      George Washington’s relationship with God governed everything he did for our nation.  His love for God and others began when he was a just a young colonel serving his country and continued through out his presidency.   The following quotes are from a prayer journal he kept when he was twenty-three years old and from the Thanksgiving declaration he inaugurated toward the end of his final years as President.

Monday’s Prayer

Note: These prayers actually came from his own personal prayer journal.

 “Thou gave Thy Son to die for me; and hast given me assurance of salvation, upon my repentance and sincerity to conform my life to His holy precepts and example.  O God, pardon me for Christ’s sake, instruct me in the particulars of my duty, and suffer me not to be tempted above what Thou givest me strength to bear.   Bless my friends and grant me grace to forgive my enemies as heartily as I desire forgiveness of Thee my heavenly Father.”

Tuesday’s Prayers

O blessed Father, let thy Son’s blood wash me from all impurities, and cleanse me from the stains of sin that are upon me.  Give me grace to lay hold upon His merits; that they may be my conciliation and atonement unto thee that I may know my sins are forgiven, by His death and resurrection.

Washington’s Thanksgiving Day Declaration

(Official Holiday Declaration October 3, 1789)

  “Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Sovereignty of almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and, whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors (signs) of Almighty God, especially to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.  Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November to be devoted by the people of these States to be the service of that great and glorious Being (God), who is the Benefit Author (Creator) of all the good that was, that is, or will be.”

Make your mayonnaise jars full of the things that count this year,

Happy Thanksgiving,

Kent and Myrna McClain