A Spiritual Thermos

thermosA heard a funny story in the hills sometime back that will assist me in making a spiritual point:

One of a set of twins went to a grand opening of a Wal-Mart in a county seat town in the area. The store was about a two-hour walk through the hills from their cabin. One of the twins, Arze, stayed home while the other, Ezra, made the walk.

Arriving at the Wal-Mart, Ezra was mystified and amazed by what he saw. He had never seen a store so big with so many items for sale.  As he approached the entrance, a sales demonstration for Thermos products caught his attention. After listening to the sales pitch, Ezra expressed serious doubt that such a contraption could really keep hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold. In order to prove that a Thermos could indeed do it, the salesman took one thermos and filled it with piping hot chili. He then took a second thermos and filled it with iced tea.  He told Ezra to shop as long as he wanted and then come back for proof. Ezra walked the aisles for several hours in disbelief. He returned to the Thermos salesman with just enough time left to get home before dark. The salesman opened the one with chili and sure enough it was still steaming hot. The second one was opened with the iced tea and it was icy cold.

Convinced the thermos was a miraculous thing, Ezra bought one to take home to show his brother. He was excited to show Arze his amazing thermos. Arze asked what was so amazing about a jug. Ezra told him how it could keep hot stuff hot and cold stuff cold. Arze lifted the jug and it felt like something was in it.  Arze asked, “What ye got in this here Thermos jug”?

Ezra proudly announced: “Chili and iced tea!”

There are two spiritual lessons I want to illustrate using this story. First, our Savior teaches that life cannot be a mixture of two opposite principles. We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), we cannot trust in our own works for salvation in Christ, nor can we follow the world and God at the same time. His new way must completely replace our old worldly ways so that we walk in newness of life. In the Thermos story, the mixture of chili and ice tea is a sickening mess. So it is with mixing spiritual principles and worldly principles.

Secondly, iced tea can invigorate and hot chili can warm, but mixed together neither can serve its purpose. Few things refresh more than drinking a glass of iced tea on a hot day. And hot chili is good on a cool or cold day. But when you mix hot and cold, you get lukewarm. It is good for nothing! Lukewarm water is an emetic – it tends to make one vomit. Christ’s complaint against the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:16) is revealed here: The Laodicean ‘believer’ was of little use to Him. They were neither cold nor hot in relation to God, just lukewarm. Beverages are better either cold or hot. The Laodiceans understood the analogy because their city drinking water came from a spring six miles to the south over an aqueduct, and it arrived disgustingly lukewarm. It was not hot like the nearby hot springs that people bathed in, nor was it refreshingly cold as it was at the source. It was lukewarm and not good for bathing or drinking. In fact, it was nauseating, and that was the Lord’s response to the Laodiceans—He would spit them out of his mouth. They were neither cold nor hot in relation to God, just lukewarm.

Let’s keep our love of the Lord hot and our attraction to the world cold !

~ Brother Roy

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One thought on “A Spiritual Thermos

  1. Excellent (thermos story). Hubby & I met you at Portage holiness camp last summer. I use your stories sometimes in my Missions programs. This one will definitely get used. Thank you and God bless!

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