I’m someone who really loves milk.
Like, when left to my own devices, I use milk when making most of my favourite things.
I have milk in my tea (even when it’s earl grey).
I love to make porridge in the morning, made with lots of hot steaming milk, oats and cinnamon.
I love cakes. With milk in.
I really love ice cream. Go figure.
And actually, my ultimate comfort food, on cold mornings (which I think is a throw back to some point in my childhood) is sweet cereal. Made with hot milk.
Like granola. Or coco pops. Or weetabix. (Oh, how I miss weetabix in Japan!)
And so on freezing cold Hokkaido mornings, when the wind is blowing and the snow is falling, I resort back to my ultimate comfort food.
Sometimes even when I have breakfast with my friends, I resort back to my ultimate comfort food.
And so, last month, when we had a breakfast party at my friend’s house, he kindly offered me hot cereal alongside my pancakes.
His exact words to me (and a group of about 6 of us) were, ‘Who wants hot granola?’
And as it was a particularly cold day, we all excitedly said ‘Yes’.
Granola with hot milk is just what my body was longing for.
Which is why when my friend gave me a bowl of ‘hot granola’ I was totally and completely disappointed by the anti-climax.
Because he gave me hot granola. Made with hot water.
Who is the world makes cereal with WATER?! That’s just gross.
I mean, I was totally like, ‘Dude, what IS this?’
And his reply to me was simple.
‘I’m not a milk fiend like you. I don’t want to buy a couple of litres of milk every single day. Just put a splash of milk on top and it’ll taste the same.’
So, I put a splash of milk on top.
And ate it.
BUT, it was in no way the SAME as my rich, full fat milk made cereal.
It was okay. But it didn’t taste the same.
My friend was a stingy milk man.
The thing is, cereal made with hot milk and cereal made with hot water (and a dash of hot milk) pretty much looks the same.
There’s very little difference when you’re looking at two bowls next to each other on the table.
But in the taste, there’s all the difference.
The tasting actually reveals the quality.
I think the same is true in our lives.
In our relationships.
In the depth that we have with other people and in the depth that we have with God.
And so today, as I made some delicious, full milk porridge, and contemplated its tasty goodness, I remembered my watery cereal experience and 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.
The motivation of our relationships.
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 hot cereal that looks perfect but has no real flavour, so you can build a life that looks like it’s running hard for Jesus, but has no real substance.
You can build a life where you look popular but have no real depth in your relationships with others.
And just like you can make cereal that seems complete but only has tastelessness lurking under the surface, so 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 cereal 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 my friend made me cereal that was displayed in great finery using perfect table wear, Costco granola, and cute extras, but the taste made me step back in shock horror, 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.
And may we always remember to buy milk. And plenty of it.
(And here’s a photo from the water-cereal breakfast! :))