When I was a kid we had a Brown Swiss milk cow named Suzy Q. My dad chose her because that particular breed was known for an amazing ability to produce a high quantity and quality milk. And for a family of six that was important. In fact, Suzy Q produced enough milk to raise a calf AND provide milk, cream and butter for our family.
Ever thought about milk and how it is made? An animal, in this case Suzy Q, would graze in the pasture, and feed on the hay and grain we would provide. After grazing for hours she would often find a piece of shade and lay down and chew her cud. I will not explain that process for you right now because I have just finished lunch, but it is a very important part of the digestive process in a bovine.
After the grass, hay, and grain had been digested and Suzy Q took from that process all she needed for her own health, she would produce enough milk for her calf and our family. But if you just think about it, all milk is a secondary post-digestive food product. Nothing wrong with it, in fact, in Suzy Q’s case, very rich and nutritious secondary food.
Milk is food that has passed through someone else’s body and been made palatable for another. It is good and necessary. I enjoy milk as an adult. Nothing goes better with chili and chocolate chip cookies than a tall glass of cold milk.
But no one would begin to suggest that a person’s diet as an adult or even as an older child should be exclusively one of milk. If a child or an adult only drank milk, eventually that person would suffer physical consequence of that diet. At some point a child needs to move on to solid foods. That is an indicator of healthy progression.
Often what is true in the physical world is also true in the spiritual world.
The writer of Hebrews is very concerned about his church. They should have moved on to solid food, but they are still craving milk. This has stunted them and they are okay with it.
Every week I do my best to prepare a sermon rich with spiritual and biblical nutrients. But at best all I produce is milk. It may be whole milk, more often than not it is probably skim milk, but it is still milk. It is God’s Word that I have fed upon, chewed on and it has passed through my spiritual digestive system to produce a secondary spiritual food we call a sermon.
Every week folks come to church to take it into their spiritual lives. But it is and always will be a secondary food.
Until the folks that attend church start learning to feed themselves on the Word of God, they will never mature into the fully devoted apprentice of Christ God intends them to be. And their malnourished soul will be on full display during good times and bad.
Honestly, it is easy to spot a milk-drinker. They are usually finicky about what they eat and they whine a lot. You can’t rely upon them to do their fair share of the chores and they are quite petty and impetuous. They make messes they expect others to clean up.
Milk is good, but it is not the ultimate source for a maturing believer. Learn to feed yourself. You have at your fingertips any number of ways to feed on the meat of the Word on your own.
I have a lot more to say…but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk when you should have been on solid food long ago!
So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. Hebrews 5:11-13, 6:1-2 (MSG)
Determine that you are not going to be THAT guy or gal who lives out their spiritual lives as a stunted Christian. Take responsibility for your spiritual growth and learn to feed yourself.
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