The Bare Soul - August 25, 2013
Aluminum Cans

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "Aluminum Cans" delivered to the homeless 
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on August 22, 2013.

Aluminum Cans - August 22, 2013

Titus 3:5 - He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit.

How many of us have ever given much thought to the aluminum can from which we enjoy a cold beverage? As with many things that are commonplace, most of us would take it for granted. Nonetheless, aluminum has become the standard for can making since the early 1960s when Alcoa patented their two piece design. While we may take it for granted, it certainly revolutionized the canning industry. As a youngster, I can remember my father opening a can of beer with a "church key" can opener. Of course this was a steel can and the predecessor to the aluminum can that would be fitted with pop tops. It did not take long for the steel can for soda pop and beer to totally disappear when the aluminum container became popularized. Today, steel can beverages are generally sold as novelties with aluminum cans commanding 99% of the market share.

Many of us through the years have found it convenient and responsible to recycle aluminum cans. There are a variety of reasons why redeeming aluminum is something most folks should consider. Some do it for conscience sake, others to make ends meet. Because of the varied reasons, every year since the 1960s, recyclable aluminum accounts for the most widely reclaimable item globally. Approximately 80 billion aluminum canned beverages are consumed annually. However, less than a third are recycled.

In many ways, aluminum cans are a wonderful metaphor for the human race. The can itself is basic and very much the same before its contents are added and its labeling applied. It generally takes 28 empty aluminum cans to make one pound, which equals 0.57 ounces per can. So, the dimensions and weight of a can is generic to its redeemable value. Of course, aluminum prices fluctuate as with any precious metal. Generally, a pound of aluminum cans go for around fifty cents. So, a safe estimate would be somewhere around two cents a can. (This is only an estimate for subsequent illustrations.) So, if we are comparing human beings to aluminum cans, we can make the comparison that generally we are made up of the same stuff, respectively. Skin color or any other genetic characteristic doesn't matter regarding the "container," as neither does the labeling on an aluminum can regarding its capacity to hold the liquid therein.

For the sake of illustration, I would divide the human race into four different analogous representations of four different beverages currently packaged in aluminum cans. They are as follows:

In all the above instances, every person is redeemable no matter what particular aluminum can they symbolize. It makes no difference to the redemption center where we might bring our cans whether they are beer, near bear, soda, or diet soda cans. They are all worth the same. How much more is this illustration applicable to human beings? Unfortunately, just like the billions of canned beverages consumed annually, only a portion of these empty cans are redeemed. Jesus Christ died for the sins of all mankind. However, whether redemption actually takes place is whether we allow ourselves to first be emptied of ourselves and then redeemed. May we all allow the Great Redeemer to have His way with each and every one of us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for redeeming us through Your Son. Allow us all to humbly empty ourselves or ourselves. Then, fill us to overflowing with Your Spirit and allow us to live for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Your Barefoot Servant,



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