The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sixth on my Bucket List: The VAT

 What is a BUCKET LIST?

Well, it means one thing to everyone in the world, and maybe something else to me. I think it means a list of buckets. So with the help of, I came up with a literal bucket list and now I am trying to wax philosophical about each type of container, somehow relating it to our human condition. This is the list of containers I have empathized with this week:  the brazier, the canthe cask, the hod and the pail   Today's reading about The VAT might make more sense if you click on,  and read those, first.  The last discussion will be about my favorite 'bucket'; The VESSEL.

Ah, the vat!  A vat is a bucket.  It's more like a vat, but let's just say it's a bucket shall we?  I'm thinking that a vat could even be a hole in the ground, as in 'a vat of quicksand'.  But let us say that a vat is any giant unwieldy  form of a container that you might dump a great big load of wild ingredients into, and then slowly stir (not mix!) with a large spoon (no, not a spoon; that would turn the vat into a cauldron and that's not on my list) stick (yeah, a stick!  You always stir what's in a vat with a stick for some reason).  Clear?

Didn't think so.  But what goes into the vat of life?  I'm thinking icky.  Let's say you are standing between a cask and a vat.  Life starts handing you stuff (no, not lemons) and your job is to sort each item into the proper container.  Ready, set, GO!

*Your Mom and Dad gave you a lot of love, and you save that precious commodity in the cask.  A no brainer!
*You take your sister's toys and now she hates you!  This is more complicated. Put the guilt in the vat where it will fester, the repentance in your cask so you don't forget it, dump the hate in the vat so it can be swallowed up for a while, and the forgiveness you should treasure in the cask forever. 
* Someone shows you porn and you get hooked!  Certainly the porn has to go in the vat, but it's not that simple.  Do it now, or the vat will overflow when you can finally toss off (and into the vat) the growing tally of addiction, lust, deceit, waste, lies, vain imaginings and the loss of years.  Is there anything for the cask?  If the rest does go in the vat, then there is overcoming, victory, purity and a newfound understanding that a person is so much more than a body.  These are treasures that one might have gained without adding so much to the vat, but, too late now.
*Your spouse challenges your character every day.  Your love for your spouse, and from your spouse, will only grow as it is cherished in a good cask.  Your selfishness needs to be dumped in the vat along with the laziness, the unfair fighting, the failed investments and the burned meals.  The gift of growing patience, along with humility and sacrifice, will grow and prosper in your cask.

You get the idea.  Some of the stuff of life is vile and base, and should only be rid of, while some is rich in value and must be honored and carefully kept.  By the way; the stick of circumstances is always running through the vat and stirring up trouble.  It always brings the most relevant of the worst sin and temptation right to the top at just the wrong time!

picture from

But what can be done about that heaping vat full of sin and guilt and shameful memories? The answer is two-fold, with the first step found here:

If we confess our sins he is faithful and just and will forgive us and purify us from all unrighteousness.    1 John 1:9

The stuff in the vat which is of our own making (probably 90%); our sin, our responses to our own sin, our defending our sin, our justifying our sin, our blaming others for our sin etc., can all be 'purified' when we simply confess it. We are not informing God about what is in our vat when we confess, but we are simply looking in as He points, and agreeing with Him (always a good idea!). Just as a 'confession of faith' is not some kind of guilty admission, but is a statement of agreement. So when we agree with God about what's in the vat, or what should be in the vat, He is 'faithful and just' and then, He drains the vat!  At least of each wrong we recognize and acknowledge as sin.

The second step, now that we are forgiven, is to forgive all those offenses we have been dealt and which might be clinging to the walls of the vat like so much cooked on gristle.

       Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you  
             has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
                                                                           Colossians 3:13

And with these simple steps of confession and forgiveness, we are fit for living in God's presence forever!  But to rephrase 1 John 1:9 above; if we do not confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will not forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  Why should He?  To cling to our sin is not just negating the cask and all of its good wares, but declaring we prefer to live in the vat itself.

[For more on why pornography, and other crap, should be thrown in the vat sooner rather than later, check out this article I wrote last year.]


  1. This is so powerfully done and so, well just spot on, Mike. So well done. Not a single thing to argue about here. :)

  2. Thanks Jo, but 'nothing to argue about'? You wanna bet?

  3. Great message for all of us. Thanks Mike.

  4. Well, VAT's a big bucket ... or perhaps even a TROUGH or a CISTERN. (And there you go.)


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