This is a devotional-type piece I wrote several years ago - I came across it the other day and figured I would share.
I like ice cream. Correction - I love ice cream. Something about the sweet, creamy goodness of the delightfully refreshing treat is just...heavenly.
My ice cream fetish and I currently reside in Gloucester, VA. It's a small town of less than 40,000 people, hidden neatly among a cluster of more commonly-known cities such as Richmond, Virginia Beach, and Williamsburg. Due to Gloucester's small stature, its attractions are often left off the map, so to speak - that being the case, I would like at this time to call attention to one of the home-town treasures nestled right in the heart of our humble county. Next time you're passing through our quaint little village, be sure to indulge yourself in a little piece of (the ice cream lover's) heaven. Short Lane Ice Cream (located, of course, on Short Lane) is a family-owned business that offers home-made ice cream, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor atmosphere on the interior of its two-story building, additional seating outside, and a wide variety of flavors and styles in the ice cream family from which to choose. Ice cream, gelato, sorbet, oh my!
I was recently introduced to the wonder of Short Lane's "Blueberry" ice cream, which is now my newest favorite flavor. I'm telling you, that first bite changed my life. And I couldn't help but think that ice cream is a lot like the Christian walk.
Your first "taste" of Jesus will, on most occasions, completely change your life. You've never tasted anything so sweet, so refreshing, so...heavenly. But, if you just take one taste and don't progress on your journey with the Lord...if you merely ask Him to come into your heart but don't feed off of His Word, pray, seek to serve Him in your daily life, and give and receive encouragement from fellowshipping with other believers, you will begin to watch your Christian walk slowly just...melt away. The same is true of ice cream. If I simply took that first bite and didn't continue to indulge in the rest of my two (okay, three) scoops, then my ice cream would eventually just melt away; I would have missed out on the goodness and delight I could have derived from continuing to feed. Now, of course, if I were to continue eating, I would run the risk of getting a brain freeze or even a belly ache and, likewise, the Christian journey is not without its pain and times of discomfort...but the experience of eating the ice cream is worth it. Plus, the more you grow in the Lord, the more inspired you will be to share what you've found with others who have never tasted before or who have been exposed but, for whatever reason, have a bad taste in their mouth or a bad feeling on their insides in regards to it (we'll call those people "lactose intolerant").
The bottom line is that we don't order our favorite ice cream and let it sit in the cup and just melt away - and neither should we let our walk with the Lord go unnurtured and, likewise, melt away. It will still be there, yes, but it will be nothing more than a liquidy puddle of what could have been a solid and satisfying treat. And, of course, a growing relationship with Jesus is much more satisfying than even the most delicious-tasting frozen dessert (and way less fattening). Jesus was Bethlehem's own home-town treasure, and one that far surpasses anything anywhere else has to offer.
So, determine yourself to grow in your walk with the Lord. Go feast on the Word of God, say a little prayer, and encourage someone in the name of Christ. Treat yourself to as many scoops of Jesus as you want. And, while you're at it, go have a bowl of your favorite ice cream. (Although, you'll probably prefer the "growth" that ensues from Jesus as opposed to that which comes from the latter. I'm just saying.)