Life’s Lessons


A lesson found in The Great Shake-Up

During the many years I was part of the mission team to Nicaragua, I began taking along a large can of mixed nuts. On the first evening after work and showers I would open the can and set it in the day room for all to enjoy. After about twice of doing this, other team members began asking early in our travels, “Did you bring ’em, Helen?” Of course, I had even when they began to price themselves out of reach.

Then, I stopped going on that trip.

A year ago, I went with a group to Kentucky to be in mission with Christian Appalachian Project. When it came time for that trip this fall, I thought how much everyone had enjoyed the mixed nuts. So, off to Walmart and a can of nuts was ready for travel.

Again, after we returned to the guest house the first work day, we got our showers and began gathering in the day room to compare notes of the day’s activities and generally visit. And surprise! A can of mixed nuts had appeared!

It was fun to watch team members tentatively sample the treat and then return for more. Soon, everyone was coming by rather frequently.

Now, I’m sure you have noticed how the best nut meats – that is, those other than the 50% peanut base – appear at the top when the can is opened. Those soon disappear, and to enjoy the “mixed nut” part one has to dig deeper.

Watching this happen, I said, “Shake the can and the good stuff will come to the top.” That is a trick learned many years ago.

So, then the sound of nuts being shaken in the can accompanied the usual sounds of visiting. There were just 13 of us, and we worked only four days, so when we began sorting through things to put away and prepare for our departure the next morning there were still quite a few nuts in the can. I invited the lady who had been the Guest House hostess for the week to take the rest of the nuts home.

She was thrilled. I hope she wasn’t too disappointed when she opened the can and found mostly peanuts. The can had been shaken too many times.

It occurs to me that sometimes our lives can become dull and dreary. We lose our zest and vitality for sharing the love of Jesus. Then, He comes in and shakes us up! He’s bringing the good stuff to the top so He can make use of it once again .

Jesus wants us to be witnesses for Him in our daily lives so others may also come to know Him. For others to develop that desire, our lives need to be tantalizing – making Christianity desirable, making it look like the good life it truly is.

Let’s be careful that we not become down-in-the-mouth, non-smiling, grumpy Christians. Let Christian love shine through you to your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors – to everyone with whom you have contact.

Yes, Jesus saves! He gives joy! We need to let that joy show. Let the best stuff come to the top, where it is seen by others and makes the Christian walk desirable.

A lesson found in The Great Shake-Up