Make Every Bean Count!

The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.    John 10:10 (The Voice)

JellyBellyBeansConsider… the JELLYBEAN. 

Colorful. Tasty. Festive. Fun.                                                I wonder if you’ve ever stopped to consider what JELLYBEANS can teach us about LIFE…

Click to watch:  The Time You Have (In Jellybeans)

Jesus said, in John 10:10: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

In all its fullness.

Till it overflows.

Life that is full and good.

What if we were to borrow from our descriptions of the JELLYBEAN in order to add texture, color and flavor to this idea of ABUNDANT LIFE? After all, the word LIFE means something different to each one of us and is often colored by the season we find ourselves in and the difficulties we are currently facing. If we can agree on a description of LIFE, perhaps we would be more likely to LIVE IT – and to encourage others to live it, too.

So, what if LIFE = JELLYBEANS?

What if Jesus came so that we would have life that, like a jar full of JELLYBEANS, is…

Filled with color! These are no Hot Tamales (all red) or Lemon Drops (all yellow)! JELLYBEANS come mixed with black and white and pink and red and green. Each handful contains a rainbow of possibilities – and so does each new day of this abundant life we’ve been given!

Like JELLYBEANS, life comes in a variety of flavors, and if you’re anything like me, you don’t necessarily LIKE every flavor equally well! I happen to love black JELLYBEANS, but many people don’t. My family always picks out the black ones and gives them to me.

The popular Harry Potter series made famous a line of jellybeans called Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, which are described like this:

“Delicious ‘normal’ beans mixed with crazy, creepy flavours like: Black Pepper, Booger, Cinnamon, Dirt, Earthworm, Earwax, Grass, Rotten Egg, Sausage, and Soap.”

Life is sometimes a lot like a package of Bertie Botts Beans – you don’t necessarily know what you’re getting into until you bite. But every experience, every decision, every opportunity and choice is undeniably full of flavor.

JELLYBEANS remind us of Easter. In baptism, that old life and all of our sin are buried in the tomb with Jesus – but it doesn’t stop there. The abundant, rich and full life that Jesus talks about in John 10:10 is ours in His resurrection! Today we say YES to the holy mystery of baptism and its connection to Easter morning at the tomb. He’s not here! He is risen! And family, SO ARE WE!

JELLYBEANS are festive and fun, and that makes us smile – sometimes in spite of how we feel at the moment. The life Jesus gives always has a jellybean edge, because in the midst of even our darkest days, there are glimpses of heaven and hints of joy teasing us to look up from our pain, dancing around in our peripheral vision, reminding us that the hunt is on and there are JELLYBEANS and smiles to be found if we will simply open our eyes and LOOK.

JELLYBEANS, and the life that Jesus gives, keep us feeling childlike – because, as Jesus said, unless we become like a child, this abundant life – this heavenly citizenship – cannot be ours.

And children love JELLYBEANS!

They don’t read the list of ingredients.

They don’t tally up the number of carbs or grams of sugar in a serving.

They don’t count calories.

Those are things that grownups do! And just as our appreciation of JELLYBEANS can be diminished by nitpicking and overthinking, well… our appreciation of life can be warped and tainted, too.

You might even say that our abundant life can be stolen or destroyed by being overly zealous in attention to details.

By being concerned with quantification – to the exclusion of everything else.

By choosing to focus on small-picture thinking and short-term costs instead of long-term effects.

By dwelling so much on the proper way of doing things that in the end, precious little actually gets done.

In the business world, we call this being a BEAN COUNTER.

BEAN COUNTERS are concerned with QUANTITY, but the abundant life that Jesus came to give is more about QUALITY. The Pharisees in Jesus’ time were religious bean counters. They were more concerned about keeping records of their holiness than making the very most of every moment they found themselves in. Jesus had many sharp words for these small-picture people.

So, when it comes to LIFE and JELLYBEANS, don’t be a bean counter! Instead, be like a child and MAKE EVERY BEAN COUNT! 

Abundant life is more than the number of our days, more than a list of completed tasks. As tempting as it is for us to quantify our lives by hours or dollars spent on this good project or that worthwhile investment… DON’T! Don’t do it!

Don’t be a bean counter… MAKE EVERY BEAN COUNT! 

The health of the economy of the Kingdom of God doesn’t rely on the diligence of accountants and bookkeepers! The currency of abundant life isn’t money, or good works, or how well we follow the letter of the law.

What spends best in God’s Kingdom is LOVE!

So – when it comes to deciding what to do with this day

Don’t be a bean counter… MAKE EVERY BEAN COUNT! 

It doesn’t have to be as complicated as we make it. It isn’t about measuring and keeping track and dwelling on the short-term costs, because the Kingdom of God doesn’t operate like a business! 

Some of us desperately needed to be reminded of that today. 

The bottom line is this: When it comes to LIFE and JELLYBEANS…

Don’t be a bean counter… MAKE EVERY BEAN COUNT!

 

 

 

 

 

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