Pressed by Shirley Hartnett



Pressed by Shirley Hartnett

The Activ8Her theme of the month is #RemainPressed and our North Syracuse Chapter co-coordinator, Shirley reminds us of the rigorous process it takes for olives to become olive oil. It takes twelve pounds of olives to make a quart of olive oil. It takes 3 pounds of olives to make one cup of olive oil. An olive tree only bears enough olives for a gallon of olive oil per season.

Olives have to go through a rigorous process to become olive oil. They are beaten down to a paste, water is added, and they are mashed some more. Then, they endure more pressure by heavy weights and the oil is pressed out. Sometimes I feel like I’m an olive being made into olive oil. I’m the olive and only God knows the end result. I often wonder if I trust a process I have no idea about and cannot fully see, as I am thrown together with other olives being beaten down, mashed, and drowned.

Do I believe when God is done, that something better will be the result? Or do I remain an olive?

The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 4:7-12, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you” (ESV).

Fortunately for me, God has given us many examples in nature where the end is better than the beginning.

Pressing apples gives us apple cider and other drinks. Pressing grapes produces juice and wine and other drinks. Pressing coal gives us diamonds. And many examples in the Bible. David, Esther, and Job to name a few. Olive oil has many great benefits. There are numerous health benefits. It’s also used for lighting, heating, cleaning, loosening, moisturizing, shining, lubricating … For me, one of the properties of olive oil (or any oil) is that it doesn’t combine with water. When you mix them, you will still see the oil and water; each can be separated.

But what is really unique is that it can calm the waves. (Please just trust me on this). One tablespoon of oil can calm about one acre of water waves. Stop the waves. What? (If you don’t trust Shirley you can Google it!) As if that wasn’t great enough—from this we have developed invisibility. Yes, the superpower of invisibility. And this led to the screens on cell phones and computers.

So do you trust or do you remain an olive?

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15b)


- Shirley Hartnett





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