Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Sweet to the Taste (08/23/12)
TITLE: Quest for the Essence
By Shanta Richard
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All things bright and beautiful; all creatures great and small
All things wise and wonderful; the good Lord made them all.
I picture the great water-buffalo and the small black honey-bee. They are not bright and beautiful and definitely not wise and wonderful. But God created them and they may have a message for me, if I would try to search for it. And so one day, when I was in a ‘vacant and pensive mood’ I decided to seek the essence of that message.
My thoughts flew back to the day I first saw a black honey-bee. He was droning around a lotus bud. He was intoxicated by its fragrance and waiting eagerly for it to respond to the warm caress of the sun’s rays and open its petals. As soon as the petals gave way, he flew right into its pollen filled centre seeking to taste the sweetness of the honey held in its heart. He was hungry and he needed the honey to satisfy his need. He knew that honey was sweet but that knowledge would not appease his hunger. He had to taste it. Therein lies the lesson: Knowledge will not serve its purpose unless it is experienced.
The lesson from the water- buffalo was similar. As a child, walking home from school, I would take the longer path through the rice fields just to watch the water-buffalos. The cowherds would guide the cows and water-buffaloes to the pond in the middle of the rice fields for a cool drink before going home for the night. After a hot humid summer day the buffaloes would enter the cool waters. They would raise their heads and with nostrils flared inhale the sweetness of the cool evening breeze.
And then they would bow their heads and drink deeply the delicious water. The fact that they enjoyed their drink was evident by the way they flapped their ears and switched their tails. Their thirst could not have been quenched by standing in the cool water, they had to drink it and taste its sweetness.
Today, as I think back, I am overwhelmed by that lesson. We can read about God. We can listen to learned men’s eloquent and intellectual interpretations of God’s word, His majesty and His glory. We would be appreciate their excellence and applaud him. But when we listen to a missionary’s experience of God’s faithfulness under dire circumstances, we are inspired to seek God’s goodness in our own lives and taste His mercy and grace. It is not possible to proclaim His goodness unless and until we have tasted it and experienced its sweetness on a personal basis. The Psalmist had done it and that is why he was able to write:
“How sweet are thy words unto my taste, yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth. (Psalm 119. Verse 103.
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