Of Milkshakes and Ministry - Part Deux

"For the Scriptures declare that rivers of living water shall flow from the inmost being of anyone who believes in me.” John 7:3

What do you think about paper straws?  

At the grocery store recently, I noticed my favorite plastic straws were no longer available, and had been replaced by paper straws.  While I understand they're better for the environment and all, there are some differences.

First, plastic straws come in a box of many bright colors.  I like that. Sometimes I pick a yellow one for my green cup in keeping with my alma mater.  Some days I’m in a pink mood just because I find the color delightful. Still other days, I’m feeling like a beautiful red or blue straw. But, the paper straws are all the same in the box. They all have green and white swirls—no variety.

Next, is the width of the straws.  The plastic straws are considerably wider than their paper counterparts. I have to slurp twice as hard to get the same amount of goodness from a paper straw.  And, never mind any add-ins for a milkshake with a paper straw.  They would never make it through to the top.  Even ice crystals get stuck in the paper straw and stop the flow.

Finally, we have the issue of durability and endurance. The paper straws turn to mush and begin to unravel after an hour in my cup.  I often have to get a second paper straw just to make it through one milkshake.  Whereas, I could wash and reuse the plastic ones for weeks, if I really needed to. Those rascals can go the distance!

I wonder . . . in our Christian walk, are we more like paper or plastic straws?

Do we embrace our differences--the ones given to us by God?  Or, are we bowing to cultural pressure to be just like everyone else?  God has made us each so beautifully different.

1 Corinthians 12:4-6 tells us, There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

God also wants us to give big drinks of Him to others through the lives we live.  People shouldn’t have to work hard to get a taste of Him.  As the Scripture says, His living water should flow from our inmost being like a river.  The straw of you and me should be so wide and open that it ushers others into the very presence of God's goodness, of all that He is. Nothing, not even little things, should stop the flow.

God also doesn't want us to be flimsy and wear out before our time.  Though our bodies are fragile jars of clay, God does want us to endure and be faithful to the end.  The beautiful thing is that we don't have to do this in our own strength.  We know that the Holy Spirit equips us and helps us in our weakness.  He helps us in every effort to endure to the end.

Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us."

As times change, and even straws change, are we remembering to line our own changes up with the One Who never changes?

Goodnight, Runners.


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