Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

It was a simple request. Pick up some milk on your way home. You’d think it would be easy for a grown man to check that item off his to-do list, wouldn’t you? Now, I know you’re not supposed to answer a question with another question, but have you ever stood in front of the dairy case at your favorite store and considered the choices?

First, you have several different companies to choose from. But once you’ve made that decision, then comes the hard part. You gotta pick a category. Sweet milk, buttermilk, or chocolate milk? OK, that wasn’t so hard.

A tall, ice-cold glass of buttermilk and a hot pone of golden-brown cornbread dripping with cow’s butter. Oh, boy, stop droolin’ and find me a fruit jar! Buttermilk and cornbread go together like molasses and hot cakes. But buttermilk and corn flakes – well, you see what I mean? To make the right milk choice, first you have to choose which meal you’re getting’ it for.

How ‘bout chocolate milk? A quart of that smooth, cold, brown liquid and a pack of Lorna Doone shortbread cookies are perfect companions for the three-hour game of the week on tv. In my mind’s eye, I can still see Mother mixing up the dough for her cathead biscuits in her large wooden mixing bowl. I wonder where that thing is now? Anyway, I can’t focus my Route 4 mental Kodak Brownie camera on that mixing bowl and imagine Mother using chocolate milk for the morning catheads and sawmill gravy.

And skim milk? That’s like rinsing out your glass after you’ve had the real thing! Again, I can’t picture Mother ever using skim milk to bake her thirteen-layer coconut and lemon cakes for the holidays. Even a double helping of ambrosia couldn’t cover the taste of skim milk. The only time we farm boys and girls ever heard the word ‘skim’ was when Mother was told us what to do with the three-inch layer of pure cream that formed overnight on the top of a gallon jug of ol’ Bessie’s finest in the  ‘frigidaire.’

OK, we’ve narrowed the choices. It’s gotta be the old standard sweet milk. But, you know what? I don’t believe a registered, blue-tick bloodhound could have sniffed out a jug of sweet milk in that dairy case. Somebody decided to start calling it whole milk! That way, they could make a section in the dairy case for people who only want a jug, ‘scuse me, a carton of ‘mixed milk.’ If that carton only has one-percent or two-percent milk, what’s in the other 98 or 99-percent? Until you find the answer to that question, I guess you just go with half-and-half. At least, it’s fifty percent of something!

And just before my shins are rammed by a kid driving a grocery buggy that looks like his favorite Nascar, my eyes land on something called Lactaid. And right beside it were cartons of Silk and Soy! What’s a cornbread-fed country boy to do when he’s craving a tall glass of the real thing?

And is it possible for you to imagine that two-am feeding when precious little Billy Bob’s screamin’ and hollerin’ can only be stopped by shovin’ a bottle of milk into his open mouth? And while you’re imaginin’, imagine the spittin’ and sputterin’ that little Billy Bob would spew all over your pj’s if you mistakenly put buttermilk in his bottle? Or that one-or-two percent ‘mixed milk’? Be sure to have your video camera ready. You could win ten thousand dollars for that one.

No, little babies need the real deal to grow up and have strong bones and healthy bodies. And, in the same way, we newborn, infant Christians need pure spiritual milk in order to grow up in our relationship with our Savior. And, as the Apostle Peter wrote in his first letter to his friends (1 Peter 2:2), we’re to crave it.

That means to have an intense, burning desire that can only be satisfied with the consumption of the real thing. Webster defines ‘crave’ as a verb that means to long for, or to yearn for. And it doesn’t work if we just see it or hear about it. Any more than seeing a tall glass of the good stuff sittin’ in front of you on the kitchen table will satisfy your desire. Remember before little Billy Bob was born, his Momma sent you to the store at midnight for a jar of dill pickles and a half-gallon carton of rocky-road ice cream?

It’s only when we crave it so much that we grab the glass, turn it up, and don’t stop drinkin’ from it till we see the bottom of the glass, that we’ll benefit (grow up) from drinking pure spiritual milk. And what kind of mindset craves pure spiritual milk? Thank you for asking. I’ll answer that question with this question.

How many of us ‘newborns’ stayed home from church on any recent Sunday morning ‘cause it was raining? As my pastor preaches to us over and over, we don’t have to go to church, we get to go to Sunday School and preachin’. Where we can ‘drink from the cup’ of pure spiritual milk.

Sorry, no sippy cups allowed.