Sour Milk or Maple Syrup

21 November 2021 PM – Proverbs 15:28 – Communication – Scott Childs
Introduction: When I was a boy on the farm, we had several 10 gallon steel milk cans (about 40L). Before my time, when a farmer milked his cows, he poured the milk into these milk cans and the milkman came by each day and picked up the cans to take them for processing. We used the old milk cans for other purposes.
            We used some milk cans for storing soured milk for our pigs. Each day we opened the lid, stirred the smelly mess, and poured out some for the hungry pigs. They loved it!
            We had another milk can that we used when we made maple syrup. We kept that can very clean. When the maple syrup had boiled to a thick golden colour over the fire in our sap shanty, we poured the precious liquid into the milk can and took it to the house to finish processing it.
            On the outside, all of our milk cans looked similar, but on the inside, they were VERY different. These milk cans are going to help us better understand our text this evening. Read Proverbs 15:28.
Transition: I believe that God has at least three lessons for us to learn from this verse.
  1. The Contents are Added
a.         We filled our milk cans.
1)         We poured milk into the cans that soured for pig slop.
2)         We poured maple syrup into the can used for carrying that precious liquid.
3)         The cans did not fill themselves. We chose what we poured into each can. Our choice was deliberate and careful.
b.         Each of us fills his or her own heart.
1)         Our hearts are the storage containers of our lives.
2)         We began filling them up as little children. We fill them with both good and bad. We fill them with what we look at, what we read, what we hear and what we ponder.
3)         Some of the greatest influences in our lives may be school, TV, videos, games, books, magazines, Internet, ungodly music, conversations with friends, bad words we overhear, godly music, sermons, Bible reading, and parental instruction.
4)         Each time information enters your senses, it is stored in your heart. Your heart is like a massive hard drive.
5)         We must carefully choose what we let into our hearts. (Proverbs 4:23) “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
6)         Unfortunately, we do not have several hard drives in our heart. All the data enters the same one. The bad information corrupts the good. The content in your heart determines if you are right with God or wicked.
2.        Upsets Spill the Contents
Lou Priolo, in his book, The Complete Husband, p. 59, shares this helpful account of a counselling session. “Harvey and Priscilla were seated facing each other in my office, and attempting to resolve a conflict. Soon after they began speaking, Priscilla made a very sarcastic and vitriolic [harsh] comment to Harvey.
‘Whoa!’ I said. ‘Priscilla, those words were not honoring to your husband. Would you please try saying that again.’
At that point, I took the essence of what she was apparently trying to say to Harvey and rewarded it in a much more gracious fashion than her original version.
‘Try it this way,” I said. ‘ABCDEFG,’ attempting to put into her mouth an amended version of her thoughts.
I’ll never forget what happened next. Looking Harvey straight in the eyes, she opened her mouth trying to form the words, but nothing came out. She just sat there with her mouth open and her tongue sort of dangling in mid-air between her upper and lower set of teeth.
‘Go on. You can do it,’ I said encouragingly.
After momentarily closing her mouth (for a rest), she tried again. When she did, a rather raspy, guttural, and choking kind of sound came out, but nothing else.
‘It’s really hard for me to say those words,’ she said to me with a troubled look on her face.
After reflecting momentarily, I asked, ‘Would you like to know why?’
‘Tell me please!’
‘What I asked you to say to Harvey was quite gracious and humble. The reason you’re so speechless, Priscilla, is because there’s not enough grace and humility in your heart for you to utter those words without choking on them.’
She finally understood that she could not truly sweeten her speech without first changing her heart. By God’s grace, she eventually learned how to ‘put on’ more humility and grace.”
That sums well what we are saying. What’s inside comes out.
a.         When tipped, the cans poured out their contents.
1)         The contents that always came from our milk can full of sour milk was lumpy smelly milk.
2)         The contents that always came from our milk can filled with maple syrup, was sweet tasty maple syrup.
3)         This was always true because what goes in always comes out. That same principle is true in our hearts.
b.         When upset, the heart pours out its content.
1)         Content pours out of our hearts through our words, in our tone of voice, and through our non-verbal communication like facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, posture, and touch. Priolo, p. 63
2)         When our heart is right with God, we will study to answer, but far too often, that is not the case.
3)         If someone upsets you, and you curse or swear, it is because those words reside in your heart.
4)         If your close friend disappoints you, and you respond in a carnal manner, it is because of the carnality in your heart.
5)         If your spouse blames you for something, and you respond with mean, unkind, harsh, hurtful words, it is because those feelings and words are in your heart.
6)         If your child irritates you, and you explode at his or treat his unkindly, it is because anger and bitterness was stored up in your heart.
7)         While none of us is perfect, we must not use that as an excuse for what comes out of our hearts. We can never blame the other person for the content of our hearts. When bad comes out, we have a spiritual heart problem.
3.        Contents May be Replaced
a.         Milk cans may be scrubbed clean and refilled.
1)         The sour milk can did not have to remain such. Cleaning that smelly can would take a lot of work, but it could be done.
2)         With a major wash and scrub, it could be cleaned up and refilled with something pleasant.
b.         The heart may be scrubbed clean and refilled.
1)         If the contents of your heart are like sour milk, and evil things keep pouring from your heart, your heart needs a good scrub and clean. It will not be easy, but God can help you scrub and clean out your heart.
2)         Begin by humbly confessing the problem to the Lord.
3)         Once your heart is right with God, then seek the forgiveness of all on whom you have poured out evil things. This is humbling, but necessary.
4)         Do all that you can to stop evil things from entering your heart. If required, change your viewing habits, your listening pleasures, your reading enjoyments, and even your friends. Ask God to help you live Pr 4:23. Keep thy heart…
5)         Begin refilling your heart with God’s Word. Read it more. Memorise it more. Meditate on it thoughtfully. Spend more time in prayer. God is the only one who can fill us with His Word. Then beg God to help you study to answer when irritations arise (and they will) instead of pouring out evil.
Conclusion: When irritations spring on us, we should remember the can of sour milk, the can of maple syrup and this proverb (Pr 15:28). With God’s help, we can keep our hearts clean so that we study to answer rather than pouring out evil things.
            If you have some heart scrubbing to do, right now is the time to begin. If you wait, the devil is likely to distract you. Let God have his way right now.
Song: Cleanse Me – 166