Jacqueline Coleman First Chapters

Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?

28 June 2023

As I young teenager, I wrote a short story which I titled “Who Stole the Cookie from the Cookie Jar?” My English teacher loved it and recommended, as other teachers had in the past, that I become a writer. There was, however, a problem with my story: I never disclosed just who it was who stole that cookie. No matter how often I have reflected on that question since, it seemed that I could never answer that question and solve that puzzle. That is, until recently.

I love cookies. Not just because so many of them taste great – that is wonderful in and of itself - but because they come in so very many varieties. Plain ones and colorful ones and chocolate ones and little ones and big ones and, and.... And do you know what else? No cookie ever comes out of the oven looking exactly like any other cookie. There is always something different. 

My children used to look carefully at the tops of freshly baked cookies so that they could see if they could select the one with just the right amount of whatever was inside. (Let's be honest: as adults, we do that as well.) Some of my children wanted to find lots of things, like chocolate chips, while others hoped they selected one with as few as possible.

Different cookies have different gifts inside, and each cookie has varying amounts or degrees of those gifts, but all of those gifts are designed to be enjoyed and made to be shared.

We can think of churches like big glass cookie jars which contain an infinite variety of cookies. Every cookie looks a little different and every cookie has some different things inside, but every cookie fits together just right to fit in that cookie jar, and every cookie, working together, fills it up and then helps to fill more cookie jars. If one cookie is taken away, then the cookies that are left in the jar are left with a space they need to fill that they were not designed to fill.

Over the course of many years, I allowed the voices of other cookies who didn’t like the way that God had made me speak into my life. Over time, I shrunk smaller and smaller, and I wasn’t doing my job in the way that God had called me to do it. I was being disobedient. In behaving this way, although still present in the cookie jar, I effectively removed myself from it because, by not functioning in the manner that God had gifted me, I wasn’t contributing in the way that He had specifically, lovingly, and graciously designed me to take part in His Church. In full disclosure, it was even worse than that: Through my own disobedience, I was hurting other cookies by my refusal to live in my design.

I learned, through heart-wrenching trials, that I couldn’t participate in the missio dei, the mission of God, and disobey God at the same time. I couldn't participate in the missio dei with a false self that was attempting to live out someone whom God had not designed me to be. I was lying to myself, I was lying to others, and I was attempting to lie to God.

You see, by disobeying God I wasn’t submitting fully to Him, so He couldn’t grow me as He wanted to. Because I was not fully surrendering, I could not live out His call on my life. By not living out His call on my life, I withered and shrunk because there is no true growth without true relationship with God and I was holding back.

But God is faithful. He kept after me until I would listen and obey. And when it was time, He plucked my shrunken cookie out of the jar I was in and placed me in another jar. I have been obeying and I have been growing. In so doing, I have been able to do the task that He has given me, and He has blessed me with the space and the ability to empower others to obey Him so that they can work together as incredible and beautifully gifted cookies.

So, “Who stole the cookie front the cookie jar?”

Well, I did. I cannot place blame on anyone else, but I certainly will never put myself in a position in which I am asked to be disobedient again.

I have discovered that the better question here is, “Who put the cookie back in the cookie jar and empowered her to function as she was designed to function?”

I think we all know the answer to that.
When anyone is asked to function in ways that are contrary to how God has designed them to function, they live in disobedience. Living in disobedience means not living in a way that is spiritually forming. In fact, it is spiritually diminishing and devastatingly crippling not only to that person but to those lives with whom he or she comes into contact.

If want to have magnificent cookie jars that glorify God, we must allow all God’s children to obey Him and serve as only He has called and empowered them to do.