It's a not-so-secret-fact that I not-so-secretly super love tea.
Earl grey tea.
My friend Ayumi jokes that my blood type could well be tea. She even accidentally called me 'Tea' the other day. Like, instead of my name.
On my favourite kinds of days, me and my friends take an outing to Starbucks/DeliFrance/Tully's or some or cafe-serving-tea-related-location.
Not that I'm predictable or anything, but I tend to order vente Lavender-earl-grey-tea-lattes (that's a London Fog if you're from the UK) with a frequency that means my local barista begins making my drink as soon as she sees me enter the store. I've tried to mix up the cake selection just to be radical, but normally a warm blueberry muffin features in there somewhere.
It's a true-blessing to me that my local Starbucks know just how to make a great Lavender-earl-grey-tea-latte.
In just the right quantity and order.
You take one vente Starbucks mug.
You add two Tazo earl grey tea pillows.
You fill said mug to just over half full of boiling water. Exactly.
You leave the tea pillows to stew for two minutes. Or thereabouts.
If using a non-take-out mug, you remove the tea bags from the water.
And finally, you fill to the brim with steaming hot cappuccino milk.
Now, because I am a frequent tea-latte drinker, I can tell by taste, if the quality is a little bit off.
For instance, if you use one tea bag instead of two… The flavour isn’t quite strong enough.
If you don’t stew the tea for a couple of minutes… The taste just doesn’t come through enough.
And if you (this is my pet hate) leave the tea bag in and just add the milk on top, you have to destroy the frothy goodness of the entire drink to remove the tea bag and the whole experience is ruined.
Truly terrible times.
Because the tasting of the drink, reveals the quality of the work.
I sometimes try and order a tea-latte from another rival coffee shop (*cough* which could possibly be *cough* Tully's) and my experience was not so great. It wasn't the barista's fault… The poor lad didn’t understand a word I was saying and gave me a half steamed milk, half boiling water, grey-looking-tepid-coloured combination with an earl grey tea bag sitting neatly on the side.
Really bad times.
The appearance and the taste revealed the quality of the work.
Today, my beautiful friend turned up at my church which a Starbucks take out for me. As I sipped my Lavender-earl-grey-tea-latte, and contemplated its tasty goodness, I began to think more about how there will be a day where as Christians, the quality of our work or our lives will be revealed.
Where the motivation of our building will be displayed.
For no one can lay a foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work (1 Corinthians 3).
And I was thinking that we all can read this passage and think about it simply; ‘Gold, silver and stones don’t just burn to nothing in the fire, so let’s build with them over the combustible wood, hay and straw. Yep. Amen.’
But what does that really mean?
So I was thinking about these three lasting materials and where they pop up elsewhere in the Bible. Because if they are what will last in eternity, I want them to be the building materials of my every heart motivation.
Like gold being compared to faith.
Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine (1 Peter 1).
Like silver being compared to wisdom.
If you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God (Proverbs 2).
Like costly stones being used to describe the people of God living in obedience to His heart.
If you obey me fully and keep my covenant the out of all nations you will be my treasured possession (precious jewel) (Exodus 19).
Because just like you can make a tea-latte that looks perfect but has no real flavour, you can build a life that looks like it’s running hard for Jesus, but has no real substance.
And just like you can make a tea-latte that seems complete but still has the tea bag lurking under the water, you can build a life that looks super pretty but never deal with the hidden sin or bitterness hidden beneath.
And just like the quality of earl-grey is really proved in the taste, so our lives and our hearts and our love, is really tested in His fire alone.
And just like that one time in America, where someone made me a London Fog that was displayed in great finery using perfect tea wear, perfect milk, and cute extras, but the taste made me nearly spit it back out when I realised they had accidentally used a green tea bag instead of an earl grey one, so we can dress ourselves up to fool everyone but the God who sees what it is we are really made of.
Because He’s looking at my heart.
Oh Jesus, may You find me pleasing to Your heart.
May that be my reality alone.
****I'm writing this sitting in my friend's house, drinking another perfectly made cup of earl grey tea, the tea bags of which were kindly brought for me by my wonderful friend Andy! Thank you!****
Oh, and we've been having some more fun times the last few days… 😉