Now here's another essay by our son, David Nobles, who lives in Midland, Texas.
I like sweet tea. Growing up, we had sweet tea at just about every meal. With four kids, it was hard and expensive to go out to eat, so my mom cooked for us, and she cooked really well. I can remember her pot roast, fried chicken, spaghetti, and lots of other great meals. Almost all were accompanied by sweet tea.
We very rarely bought soft drinks. Maybe Mom thought they weren’t healthy enough, but I suspect it was “all about the Benjamins” and cost kept them out of our house. I do remember they didn’t last long if they ever showed up. My biggest memory of soft drinks in the house was on Sunday nights after church, getting a half-gallon (in a glass bottle) of Dad’s Root Beer and having root beer floats. If only Blue Bell had been around back then!
So tea was my drink of choice, until I went off to college and they had soft drink fountain dispensers in the dorm cafeterias. Forget the tea, gimme the good stuff! Being a loyal Baylor Bear, Dr Pepper quickly became my favorite. I even learned that it’s spelled WITHOUT the period.
At some point in my early adult days, I began drinking tea again, and decided to drink it without sugar. At first it was very bland, but eventually I came to appreciate it. I was eating out more, and adding sugar to the iced tea brought to my table wasn’t anything like home, so I figured it was no great loss and maybe even a bit healthier.
Today, more and more restaurants offer sweet tea. I have noticed some of the tea in town is worth it and some is not: Rosa’s is amazing, Bush’s is good, McAlister’s is OK, Jason’s sweet tea is putrid. I’m sure you know as I do that it depends on the type of tea and sweetener used and when and how sweetener is added. When the tea is hot, real sugar (the best sweetener) dissolves and flavors the whole pot. When the tea is cold, you can stir that thing all day long and you’ll still end up with a lot of sugar on the bottom of the glass.
In other words, the tea has to be right to accept the sugar.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Just like the tea, we have to be in the right position to accept God’s truth and instruction in our lives. The sugar doesn’t change—it’s still sugar—but when the tea is hot it combines with the tea in a way that produces a much different result than when the tea is cold. I know there’s a scientific reason for this, and it’s all about the heat. When we are ready to accept God’s influence, he can dramatically flavor our lives. How do we get hot—how do we become ready? Admit sin. Repent. Ask Him to give you the desire to experience Him fully, then ask Him to fill you, lead you, influence you. Get in the habit of talking to Him all the time—He wants to hear about everything, no matter how big or how small. Read His word and let it fill your heart. Serve God by serving people.
All that is really easy to write and much more demanding to do—but when we do—life is sweet.