Peanut Butter

Who doesn't like peanut butter? I know some folks are highly allergic to nuts and don't want to make light of that, but peanut butter has been and is a staple of the American culture since around 1900.  Actually, peanuts aren't native to the USA. The peanut plant was originally discovered in South America (Brazil or Peru) and eventually found its way here. Peanuts became a commercial crop in the early 1800's and this greatly expanded in the later part of that century as PT Barnum's Circus and baseball helped make them popular.  In the early 1900's, with the wisdom of George Washington Carver, the peanut actually helped save the South's economy as the boll weevil wreaked havoc on the cotton crops. 

Peanut butter was likely invented here in the USA by Dr. John Henry Kellogg (think cereal) in 1895. Soon it was introduced at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. Peanut butter was used widely during World Wars I and II and it was likely during WWII that the Army popularized the peanut butter and jelly sandwich as a way to sustain and nourish the troops during maneuvers. 

Peanut butter has been used for many things over the years ... concealing a pill for kids to swallow, clean leather, bait mouse trap, lubricate squeaky hinges, remove gum, clean windshield, repair scratches on wood, moisturize hair, and even as shaving cream. But inmates at Walker County Jail here in Alabama apparently have found another use ... reconfigure numbers on cell doors to trick employees to open the door to the outside so they can escape. Sounds crazy ... but it happened. I'm trusting you saw this report from earlier this week and I don't think it is something Dr. Carver or Dr. Kellogg ever imagined.

This just illustrates how creatively evil the human mind and heart is and can be. We can take something so very good and use it for wicked, deceptive, and evil purposes.  Any blessing the Lord gives us is potentially something we can (and eventually probably will) use against His Kingdom purposes. This is a call for us to examine our blessings and make sure we've not exalted the blessing over and above the Giver of the blessing. It's a reminder to us that we need the wisdom, counsel, and help of fellow believers who love us and can help us see when we're using good things for the wrong reasons.  This is a solemn warning to never trust something to be "good" just because it "works" and accomplishes a desired result. 

Yet instead of simply living in fear of messing up and doing something wrong, it's also a reminder that God's good gifts to us are meant to be enjoyed by us and others as we use them in the way He intends. We don't need a new law against peanut butter, we don't need to put a warning label on every jar, we don't need to add to school curriculum a lesson on the right purposes of peanut butter, etc. Rather, just enjoy your next peanut butter and jelly sandwich and realize it's a blessing from God. And if you see someone using peanut butter in an inappropriate way, love them enough to challenge them to stop wasting it for ungodly purposes and remind them how delicious that sandwich was you just ate!