Skim Milk Christianity

Yesterday morning was just one of those mornings when I needed oatmeal. I can go for weeks with virtually no breakfast at all, and then I have an “oatmeal” morning, when my body just craves it.

My beloved wife Sharon, fine Southern Belle that she is, says that I like “Yankee oatmeal,” because unlike her “butter and sugar” approach, I prefer my oatmeal with milk and sugar. Of course, being the paranoid, health-conscious, middle-aged folks that we are, the milk is, by default, skim milk.

So, here I was, about to pour milk on my oatmeal, when eight little feet came bouncing into the room, responding (probably from the other side of the house) to the sound of the refrigerator door opening. Like little jets coming in for a landing, they skidded across the kitchen floor and started to demand their fair share of the dairy product in my hand. Wookie and Baby, two of our three cats, have never met a dairy product that they didn’t like—until yesterday, that is.

Being the cold, hard-hearted type, I of course went straight for the customary custard cups that these two associate with kitty goodies (in fact, I don’t eat from those little bowls anymore; they make me feel too guilty, sitting there and staring at me while I do). Obediently, I poured a bit of milk into each cup, and placed it on the floor.

As usual, the two climbed all over each other, getting to their respective bowls, while Buddy, the old man of the resident feline crowd, watched. I put the milk away, and was headed out of the room, when I was stopped cold in my tracks by a loud, piercing, shrill,

MEEEEOOOOWWWWWW!!! I turned to see Baby looking up at me, with a look on her face that fairly screamed “WHAT is THIS stuff? It’s thin, and it’s watery! This isn’t cream!” I looked down at her scolding eyes, and replied “hey, it’s exactly what you asked for. It’s what I’m having, and what you requested.” Then, since, as usual, I was running late, I left the room, oatmeal in hand.

Last night, when I came home, I couldn’t help but notice that one custard cup—Baby’s, of course—was still there, untouched. Wookie’s, however, was bone dry. I guess she’s young enough that she hasn’t learned to be so fussy. To her, skim milk is better than no milk at all. Baby, however, was staging a protest. I heard it from her at every opportunity. She was not about to settle for that watery, bland, stripped-down “stuff.” She knows real cream, and that’s what she wants. No compromise will do.

It got me thinking—am I settling for “skim milk” in my relationship with God?

Some people live their whole lives without ever getting beyond “skim milk Christianity.” If skim milk is all that you’ve ever known, it just seems normal for milk to be thin and watery. In fact, once you become accustomed to skim milk, even 2% milk can taste funny at first taste. But, if you’re accustomed to the “cream” in your relationship with God, anything less just seems watered down and tasteless.

Some folks actually prefer “skim milk Christianity.” Some have found themselves suddenly dropped into environments where “cream Christianity” was the norm, and the transition was more than they could handle all at once, so the retreated to “skim milk land,” with it’s lack of challenge and corresponding lack of nourishment. Others just don’t want to exercise their faith, so they don’t want to have those extra spiritual calories to burn. That’s not a problem if you’re “on fire” for the Lord.

One thing I know for certain—once you’ve really experienced a “cream” level relationship with the Lord, even whole milk is a letdown, and skim milk is hardly worth the effort. Of course, it really doesn’t require much effort to sit and watch.

This morning, Baby and Wookie heard me in the kitchen, and asked for some cream—and they got exactly what they asked for.

Do you need a little “cream” in your relationship with God?

Maybe you ought to ask Him for some.

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