In our church this past Sunday, a man gave the children’s sermon. It was about obedience. He wanted to show how obedience to God’s ways fills and flavors one’s life so that life lived in obedience to God is better, more wonderful than a life of disobedience.
He used three images. He showed the children pictures.
First, he used a carrot. What happens when you boil a carrot in water? It gets soft and mushy. Do we want to be soft and mushy on the inside, no form, nothing to stand on? Of course not!
Next, he used an egg as his example. What happens when an egg is boiled? Inside it hardens. And our apart from the ways of God our hearts harden until we have no heart left and are nothing more than stone inside.
I get that his illustrations are not all that sophisticated, but this was a children’s sermon with kids as young as pre-school age. They got the point. And with his third example, I got an even better blessing, one I am sure he did not intend but would be happy with nonetheless.
He showed a picture of a coffee bean. When that is ground and boiled, it turns water into wonderful, delicious coffee. First, the man who gave this demonstration is my friend and I did not know he is coffee drinker. Maybe he’s not. Maybe he described so beautifully for the sake of the illustration. I am a total coffee drinker. I think it is a wonderful invention, brought the world by Ethiopia, by the way!
So, as a coffee-lover, I loved that he likened the wonders of a life of obedience to God to water that has been turned into coffee (which I would take over wine any day). But there was, for me, a deeper blessing. Here is my family.
Notice, my children are vanilla, milk chocolate and dark chocolate.
Now think about colors and the images they usually convey. When someone is in a dark mood, is that a good thing? Is a black mark on your record something you want? Do we yearn for dark times? Is the phrase “black as night” accompanied by happy butterfly music? So often “dark” and “black” conjure up negative thoughts. Other colors are used to arouse happiness, joy, or peace.
What does that mean for people who are categorized as “black”? Africa in some circles is called the “dark” continent. By the way, that is about as ignorant as it gets. Travel to Ethiopia and you’ll be blizted by vibrant color, especially red, green, and yellow!
When my friend did his children’s sermon, the negative were the hard white egg and the mushy orange carrot. That was life without God’s word.
The good life, the delicious life is the coffee-darkened life. As that deep blackness of coffee permeates the colorless, flavorless water, excitement, goodness, energy, and joy seep in just life is invigorated when it is filled to the brim with the ways of God. I didn’t realize until I heard that simple children’s sermon how I yearned for something that connected dark colors (the colors of my children’s skin) with something wonderful.
I thank my friend for giving me this delicious, beautiful metaphor I can hold onto in order to celebrate my Lord and my kids.
Metaphors aside, I think I’ll celebrate right now with a snack of buttered steamed carrots, a salted hard-boiled egg, piping hot black coffee, and clear ice water.