Recently on an international flight I got to catch up on a few movies I missed last year. One of the more enjoyable films was The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. In the movie, one of the main characters, played artfully by the English actor Maggie Smith, reprimands a corporate assistant for bringing her a tea bag next to tepid water. She sternly points out that tea is an herb that is dried and that it must have hot water to be infused with life again. As a lifelong hot tea drinker, I certainly can relate–luke warm water absolutely won’t cut it. Parenthetically, I know more than a few coffee drinkers who will vouch for heat to bring the coffee to life.
The more I reflect on the scene, the more it occurs to me that this is a wonderful metaphor for our relationship with Christ. Each of us inherits a full, rich and expansive relationship with Christ, but it is left up to us to bring that relationship to life. What we inherit is limitless potential. It is as if God has provided us with the ultimate tea bag, full of grace, mercy, understanding, revelation and salvation. It has been dried, bagged and perfectly preserved since time immemorial.
All that needs to occur for us to realize the full potential of our spiritual relationship is to accept Christ in our lives and add boiling water, metaphorically speaking about the water of course. That sounds simple enough but in real life it is often much more difficult. The important thing to remember is that like boiling water it takes time and consistent heat to bring our relationship with Christ to a boil and make the best spiritual tea. If our relationship with Christ is sporadic, it won’t boil. Similarly, if we really turn up the heat or intensity in our relationship but don’t sustain it, it won’t boil. The outcome in either scenario is the same–our tea is unsatisfying and unfulfilling because it hasn’t come fully to life.
To make the ideal cup of spiritual tea we have to increase the heat in our relationship with Christ. We can do that in any number of ways: through prayer, through church, reading the Scriptures, acts of love and forgiveness, mediation, reading, etc. The key is to not be luke warm in the application of Christ in our lives. Try turning over all aspects of your life to Christ and to make a habit out keeping the fires burning. This will undoubtedly bring your spiritual waters to a boil and give you what you need to reach your full spiritual potential And make your heavenly tea come to life!