Filling the Clear Pitcher

If I gave you a clear pitcher and 30 minutes to go and fill it, what would you bring back?

How about if I gave you a second, identical pitcher and the same amount of time next week–what would you bring back?

If I gave you another pitcher every week for a year, we might get a pitcher of clean, clear water one week–you’re feeling traditional. We might get clean, clear water with a goldfish in it–you do like to have fun. We might get a pitcher of sweet tea one week and then some strong coffee the next. We might get sand art or a leaf collection or some loose change. We might get Jello or confetti or even an arrangement of flowers.

At the end of that year, when we are done marveling at your boundless creativity, someone really should point out that you were working within boundaries. Everything is contained in an identical clear pitcher.

Creative work always has limitations and boundaries. It is no different when we plan worship or preach or a lead a small group. Time, budget, space, attention span, technology, learning styles–the list goes on and on. When, not if, these limitations weigh on us, perhaps it is time to grab a clear pitcher and give ourselves 30 minutes. Let this exercise remind you that each service, sermon, or lesson is its own pitcher waiting to be filled.

(H/T to “Writing Excuses” – a great 15-minute weekly podcast on the art and craft of writing. Episode 10.13 focuses on the question “Where is My Story Going?”, and at the 6:29 mark, they share the image of the clear pitcher, crediting it to TV writer Jane Espenson.)

Header image by Flickr user emdot. Used under Creative Commons License. Cropped from Original.

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