Of Milk and Bicycles

When I was a teenager, my mother would often send me to the neighborhood grocery store for a gallon of milk. She would ask me in the afternoon after I had gotten back from school. Since this was in my pre-drivers license days, I would get on my bicycle and peddle the 10 minutes to get the gallon of milk. This wasn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, my preferred chore. The milk would quickly become heavy, the plastic bags were useless and would tear on the way home. I would end up holding the milk in one hand and steer with the other. Sometimes the change would fall to the ground, other times my bicycle’s chain would fall off, and often I’d find myself walking home with the milk in one hand and pushing the bike home with the other. Under the hot Florida sun, I would find myself figuring out how I could avoid another gallon-of-milk bicycle run.

When my mother passed away in September 2008, and I was flying back to Florida from Africa for her memorial service, I remembered those afternoon grocery store errands. I thought of how, as a teenager, I would groan inwardly when I heard my name called in the afternoon for the inevitable grocery store run. I understand those teenage sentiments were normal, but in the stillness when all is quiet, I wish I could hear her voice calling me to get her the gallon of milk. I wouldn’t mind her asking me to go again, in fact, I wish she could.

Psalm 86:11a TLB“Tell me where you want me to go and I will go there…”

In much the same way, God sends us on errands. Sometimes they are simple things like being kind to someone in the store or helping loved ones move house or telling others about this wonderful Father Who sends us on errands.

The problem is our attitudes that inevitably arise when it’s not convenient or easy or pleasant to take care of those things that God has asked of us. Like me when I heard my mother’s voice telling me she needs milk, we groan inwardly and try to find a way out of running the errand. Would that we’d understand that we aren’t in disposable in this journey, for another could just as easily have been chosen to take care of the task, but God chose us when He didn’t have to.

Hebrews 4:2-4 TLB “For this wonderful news – the message that God wants to save us – has been given to us just as it was to those who lived in the time of Moses. But it didn’t do them any good because they didn’t believe it. They didn’t mix it with faith.”

Our feet follow our hearts, that is to say, what is in our hearts (our faith or lack thereof) will ultimately be what spurs us on to complete the task or find a way out of it. So go ahead and get the gallon of milk, it will do you good.

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