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“Mom, Can I Use This Pan To Put Dirt In?”

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“Mom, Can I Use This Pan To Put Dirt In?”

Columbus, IN 1954…

“Mom, can I use this pan to put some dirt in? Me and Bobby Hungate are playing with our trucks in the back yard and we need something to put dirt in so we can move it.” I asked, holding a big shiny pan in front of me so Mom could see.

379620407_687I was in the fourth grade at Clifty Elementary School in Columbus, Indiana. The Hungate family lived across the street and their son Bobby was my good friend. We had already dug more holes in my back yard that day than two dogs looking for buried bones.

My Mother turned from her ironing board and looked at me as though she was surprised I would even ask.

“You certainly cannot, young man! That is my good pan. I fix stews, mashed potatoes, corn on saucepanthe cob and gumbo in the big pan. We sure don’t put dirt in our cooking pans. Now, you go look under the kitchen sink and find the old pan that has the blackened bottom. The handle is cracked on it too. Use that pan and when you are done with it, we will scrub it clean together.”

I replied meekly with a yes ma’am. I did as I was told. Later, Mom made me wash and scour the pan under her eagle eye supervision. This was my first introduction into the proper use of pans from a Mother’s point of view.

Columbus, IN 1956…

“Mama, Pandy’s dish got cracked and broken and I need to feed her tonight. This pan is all I can find. Is it OK to feed the dog out of this pan tonight?”

I held the big shiny pan out in front of me so Mom could see which pan I meant. She put down the evening newspaper and folded it on her lap. She then spoke to me without smiling.

“Son!  That’s my good pan! You cannot use that one and you should know better than to ask. My family eats out of that pan, I’ve already told you. I cook with that pan every day.

“We don’t put dirt in that pan, and we sure don’t feed the dog out of that pan. I am shocked that you would even think that was acceptable in this house.

“Go back under the sink and find that same pan you used to put dirt in. Feed the dog tonight out of that pan. You will have to scrub it with Ajax Scouring Powder and bleach it when you’re done. We’ll get Pandy a new dog dish tomorrow.”

I scrubbed that old pan and rinsed it many times that night before it met with Mother’s approval.

South Bend, IN 1962…

“Mom, I am changing the oil in my car. I can’t find a pan big enough in the garage. Would it be OK to use this pan to change my oil in?” I asked hesitantly, while holding the big shiny pan towards her so she could see.

She put her hands on her hips and looked at me like I was from Mars. I knew I was in big trouble.

“What’s wrong with you? You just don’t get it do you? That is my GOOD pan!” she said with great emphasis on the word ‘good.’

“We eat food from that pan everyday. That is my favorite pan. We don’t put dirt into that pan! We don’t feed the dog from that pan – even if he is a rare White or Albino German Shepherd mix that cost us quite a bit as a puppy! We sure don’t change the oil in that pan. Do you understand me?”

I immediately regretted asking. Nodding meekly I said, “Yes Ma’am. I’m sorry.”

“Now go back under the sink and find that old pan with the broken handle and blackened bottom. Use that one and when you’re done with it this time, just throw it away.”

Mama’s Life Lesson

She taught me that some things are set-aside for just one purpose. Oh sure, they can be used for another purpose if we choose. However, using a container for something other than what it was intended to be used for just ruins the purity of its purpose.

Our body is a vessel. It is meant to be set apart for His use, and His use only. God created our vessel to be a container filled with His Spirit and His Love. Sure, we can put drugs, alcohol and nicotine and worldliness in it if we choose. But, doing so just defiles the vessel.

*Something That Is Set Aside For One Purpose Has A Name.


Merriam Webster


1:  to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use :  consecrate


Being Set Apart For A Sacred Purpose Is Called Being Sanctified.

1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

1 Thessalonians 4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

Note: If there is no Sanctification in your life, there will an absence of Honor as well.

2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

2 Timothy 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

Like I did as a child and teenager, many are asking their Mother (The Church) if it is OK if they use their life’s vessel to put the dirt of the world in. Once you have gotten comfortable with its dirt, there will be no stopping.

Some in this permissive church age never give up asking and trying to see how much they can get away with. Their mindset is all about pleasing themselves and not focusing on pleasing God.

If you have the Holy Ghost, then your life’s vessel has been set apart unto God for His use, His glory and His service. By defiling your life, your body and your mind with worldly things, you have just dirtied the very vessel God wanted to serve a hungry world from. He will get no glory from what is in your dirtied vessel.

Remember, you are not your own. You have been bought with a price. You are His vessel. You have been set apart. You are to be sanctified unto Him.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Christian Living, Holiness

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5 Responses

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  1. Just what the doctor ordered! Thank you for the reminder. Oh the lessons we could learn if we would just listen to Mother. Before Father comes.


    December 12, 2013 at 2:39 am

  2. Amen! A Word for me indeed! Thanks be to our LORD JESUS. Thank you too, Bro. Ballestero.
    By the way, I found your blog very helpful and inspiring…so I am trying to show it to my family and brethren in the Church. We are from the Apostolic Jesus Name Church (Philippines).

    Sis. Ann Casabuena

    December 12, 2013 at 8:56 am

  3. Very good! Romans 6:16 KJV

    Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    Joseph R. Clay

    December 12, 2013 at 12:00 pm

  4. What a beautiful lesson! I wish everyone of our young people who think it’s “just a song, not that bad a word, etc.” could read this. It surely spoke to my heart! I don’t know where it’s found but there is a scripture that says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?” I certainly don’t want to ask the King of Kings to dwell in a dirty temple!

    Crystal (Morris) Smith

    December 13, 2013 at 12:13 am

  5. Great blog!

    C. Anthony Ballestero

    December 14, 2013 at 9:56 pm

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