You’re NOT Butter! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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Anyone remember those amusing TV commercials for Parkay margarine? If you don’t, watch this 30-second spot featuring NFL great “Deacon” Jones.

In every Parkay commercial, whenever someone lifted the lid, the yellow tub of margarine would debate its identity. The consumer would argue with the yellow suff in the container, proclaiming it “Parkay!”; but Parkay’s rejoinder was also the same: “Butter!”

After the consumer tastes the margarine, he or she would nod, agree that Parkay was smooth and creamy, so it must be true: it IS butter. But hey, just because something looks like butter, even tastes like butter, does not necessarily mean it is butter. Butter is butter! Made by contented cows with big brown eyes. Margarine, on the other hand, is a synthetic mixture engineered in a laboratory to approximate the qualities of the real deal. Personally, we’d rather put our trust in cows, not chemists!

All this, however, is beside the point. In these Parkay commercials, that poor yellow tub of margarine had an identity crisis. It wanted to be viewed as butter! Did it really believe it was butter? Nope. At the end of each TV spot, once the consumer gave in and agreed it was butter, the obstinate little yellow tub would tauntingly purr, “Parkay.”

Humor us for a moment. What precisely was Parkay’s problem? It knew it was margarine and not butter. Yet it wanted to be considered butter. Aha! Deep down, Parkay was feeling a little inferior. It wasn’t, after all, the real deal. But then, only butter is the genuine article. But did that make Parkay inferior? Did Parkay serve a special purpose in people’s diets? (Have we totally lost our minds?)

There are countless people in society who suffer a similar identity crisis. Like Parkay, they feel a little inferior to someone else. They go around competing with their friends, family, coworkers — and stubbornly try to convince the world they’re someone they’re not. Each of these people are unique in their own special way. And, like Parkay, they were created to fill a role only they themselves can fill. And yet, like the poor little tub of margarine, they’re not comfortable with who they are. Why?

For many people, their identity is tied to external factors; and they wrongly base their self-worth or significance on accomplishments, associations, and possessions. Let’s briefly examine these factors. Identity and self-worth have nothing to do with:

1)  What we do. Jobs, career positions, sports, academic achievements, hobbies, and even ministries do not define us. What happens if (when) these functions are taken away? Do we lose our significance? Not in God’s eyes: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart….” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV)

2)  What we have. Owning stuff seems to confer status in our materialistic society. But big houses, fancy cars, and lots of “toys” can never really satisfy the inner longings we have. To quote the old Beatles song, “Money can’t buy me love.” Each of us has a God-sized hole in our spirits and no amount of stuff can fill it — only our Lord can do that! “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)  “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” (Matthew 16:26 NLT)

3)  Nor is our worth based on social standards or the opinions of the “in crowd.” All that matters is what God has to say about us in His Word. His standards are what we’re measured by: “I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.” (Psalm 139:14 NASB) Furthermore, “…God does not show favoritism.” (Romans 2:11 NLT)

“…God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT) Friends, don’t try to be something or someone you’re not. We don’t have to compare or compete with anyone. We each have our own unique identity — and infinite value, because we’re each worth the death of God’s only Son, Jesus Christ! We each were placed on this planet by God’s design … and in His wisdom. He doesn’t make mistakes.

Be the person God made you to be. Be confident in His love and acceptance. Find significance in Him, the Creator of the Universe, and in His plan for your life. It’s not WHAT you do that counts, it’s WHY that’s important:

“…Whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 King James 2000)

You’re NOT butter, you’re better!

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An Airtight Promise! (Angel in the Kitchen)

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There are many brands of resealable plastic storage containers sold in stores today. Most are designed to go from refrigerator to microwave and then, if necessary, back to the refrigerator. These containers come in all shapes and sizes, and some of them have very specific functions. Some are made of a durable plastic that can withstand repeated use in the microwave as well as countless trips through the dishwasher. Some are pricey, but there are a few brands that are made of a thinner plastic and intended to be semi-disposable, such as Gladware. These cheaper containers can be reused several times before repeated microwaving leaves them whimpering for mercy and — like a few friends we know — all bent out shape. Few people refer to these food-savers as “resealable plastic storage containers”; it’s a lot easier to refer to them collectively as Tupperware.

Tupperware, however, is a brand name. But since Tupperware were the first and most popular food storage containers, many people use the famous name to describe any similar product — in the same way most people call all gelatin Jello, and all tissues Kleenex. Perhaps wrong, but understandable. Tupperware paved the way and made work in the kitchen easier. These marvels of versatility also empowered women who were stuck in the kitchen. More on this later.

A Massachusetts chemist named Earl Silas Tupper (1907-83) had invented a soft but rugged plastic in 1938, but wasn’t too sure what would be its best use until he came up with the idea for Tupperware in 1946. Tupper initially developed his soon-to-be famous containers to store food and keep it fresh. His first design was a bell-shaped container called the Wonderlier Bowl. Not only did the Wonderlier keep food fresh, but it also could be used as a serving bowl.

Tupperware was also a pioneer of direct marketing. During WWII, thousands of women entered the workplace, filling jobs in factories and offices. By the 1950s most of them had returned to the kitchen, and many of them were feeling a bit shut in, underused, and forgotten. The Tupperware Party allowed these women an opportunity to once again be a part of the business world, to interact and to earn money. And all for a product they could get passionate about.

What made Tupperware so special? When the containers were sealed, they were airtight, so foods stayed fresher — for a much longer period. Tupperware boasted its containers were so airtight, that once you sealed one, you could crack open a small section of the lid and “burp” out the remaining air. Tupperware even went so far as to patent their “burping seal”! In their ads, Tupperware boasted the “airtight promise”! Freshness and flavors were locked in, and liquids weren’t able to seep out around the lid.

Why are we gushing so much over a plastic container? We’re not. When first introduced, Tupperware’s Airtight Promise was indeed innovative. Tupperware sealed tight as a drum. It locked in freshness. It preserved what was inside. But if you’re like us, and you’ve trusted Jesus Christ for your eternal salvation, you’ve got something far better than Tupperware on your side. You’ve got God’s Holy Spirit!

“In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise….” (Ephesians 1:13 NASB)

“…Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.” (Galatians 3:22 NIV)

“And may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is faithful who hath called you, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 Douay-Rheims Bible)

“They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh….” (Psalm 92:14 NIV)

Salvation is God’s Divine Tupperware!

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