The Power of a Little Thing

As I've mentioned before, I am not a coffee drinker.  I love the smell of it, but I can't stand the taste of the stuff, no matter how much milk or sugar I add.  Yuck!  I do, however, enjoy several cups of herbal tea throughout my day.  And unlike most people, I create my own herbal tea concoctions.  I buy a variety of tea bags at Bargain Foods where I can get boxes of 20-100 tea bags for anywhere from 89 cents to $2.  Then I place a mix of tea bags in my "special" coffee pot (special, because it's only used for making tea), add some water, let it brew and enjoy my special blend all day long.  My blends usually consists of two or more of the following:  green tea, white tea, peppermint, chamomile, spearmint, lemon, honey, ginger, and vanilla.  Sometimes I even blend teas that are already herbal blends.  It just depends on my mood and whether I want a calming or invigorating tea.

Anyway, last night, Jason offered to make the tea and asked what I wanted.  "Whatever you want to throw together," I commented, not taking into consideration that there was one particular tea in the pantry that did not mix well with some of the others.  I remembered this fact as soon as I smelled the tea, but the damage had already been done.  Just as I usually do, Jason had combined some mint teas with chamomile and lemon.  Fine.  Unfortunately, he had also thrown one bag of Vanilla Caramel in with the mix.  Vanilla and mint are fine together, as are vanilla and chamomile.  Vanilla and lemon is not my favorite blend, but it's not bad.  However, the caramel doesn't really blend well with any of them, particularly the lemon and the mint.

The result was a smooth yet strange-tasting tea that left an indescribable taste in my mouth after I had managed to down half the cup.  Not wanting to hurt Jason's feelings, I did my best to drink the entire cup, but I just couldn't, and after he left for work this morning, I dumped the rest of it down the drain and started a new batch.  I'm sorry.  He meant well, and it was really my fault for not remembering about the Vanilla Caramel.  Besides, the only way I knew how badly it blended with the other teas is because I had tried it before myself. . . and learned my lesson.

As I prepared my new batch of tea this morning, I was reminded of the phrase in the Bible:  a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (Galatians 5:9, I Corinthians 5:6).  Oddly enough, I came across that same phrase when reading a devotional by a friend and fellow author, Lynn Mosher.  I thought about how that one little tea bag made the entire pot of tea nearly undrinkable.  There were probably eight to ten bags in that batch of tea, several of which were strong mint blends.  Yet it was all overpowered by one little tea bag.  And as a result, the entire pot was wasted.  It was of no good.  I couldn't stomach it.

Sin is the same way.  We often overlook what we call "the small sins."  A little lie.  A slight exaggeration.  Going a few miles over the speed limit.  Taking a little extra time on break at work.  Forsaking our Bible reading and prayer time.  They're not big sins like murder, adultery or thievery, so they're acceptable, right?  I mean, we're only human, after all.  We can't be expected to be perfect.  We live in a sinful world and inhabit sinful bodies.  Sin is just a part of life, right?

Unfortunately, yes, it is now a part of life, but that doesn't mean it's excusable or acceptable.  It doesn't mean that God is not watching or that Jesus didn't have to die for those "little sins."  What it does mean is that we need to be on guard.  What starts out as a "little sin" may well become something much greater.  Sin always leads to more sin!  It's a never-ending process, and as soon as we become lax and allow things to slip by unnoticed, those "little sins" began to grow and take on a life of their own.

One tea bag was enough to ruin an entire pot of tea.  One sin is enough to ruin our relationship with the Father.  I'm not talking about losing our salvation.  That can't happen.  Salvation is forever, and nothing can change that.  But when we're living in sin, even "little sin," there is a wall separating us from God.  It hinders our walk together and our communication with Him.  It drives a wedge between us that only confession of that sin can remedy.  And just as the tea left a sour taste in my mouth, don't you know our sin leaves a sour taste in God's?

I'll let you in on a little secret:  there are no "little sins."  They're all big to God.  They all cost Him the life of His Son.  And they are all signs of rebellion to His authority.  Let's keep that in mind the next time we want to go a little faster than we should or take a longer break than we're allotted.  Let's remember that fact when we allow our minds to wander where they shouldn't go and our mouths to say words they shouldn't utter.  Sin is sin, and it is powerful.  Just like the leaven.  Just like the Vanilla Caramel tea.  It can ruin and destroy, and I guarantee you the cost will be more than some funky-tasting tea.