United Church of God

Spilled Milk

You are here

Spilled Milk

Login or Create an Account

With a UCG.org account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


When I was a boy, our family would spend a couple of weeks vacationing on my uncle's farm. I learned a lot about farming and helped out with the chores. One chore was carrying two pails of milk from the barn to the room where the cream was separated. My uncle had a yoke that he used to carry the pails. A yoke is a wooden carrying device that is shaped to fit comfortably over the shoulders and has two metal hooks from which two pails of milk could hang. It made carrying them much easier than holding the two pails with my hands. But I had to be careful not to bump into anything or anyone when carrying the two full pails of milk. It took a few trips to get used to entering the little shed where the separator stood, and once or twice I bumped the side of the door quite hard—spilling milk all over the ground. Pails of Attitudes As we live our lives, we constantly have to negotiate our way through smaller doorways—and occasionally we are going to bump into one of them, or worse yet, we will bump into people. Many circumstances in life fashion and form us and help determine what kind of character we are forging. In a way, we all carry "pails" of attitudes and when they spill, we tell the world what we really are like. It may be time to discover what we are carrying in our pails. We may find it difficult to see exactly what is in our pails as we go through life; what's more, the contents in our pails can change (unlike the milk). Paul wrote that we reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). This is not new knowledge; it is something that has always been true. He also wrote that he who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6). If our lives are full of attitudes of anger, grouchiness, pessimism, bad temper or an ugly disposition—that is what will spill out of our pails every time someone bumps into us. If our lives are full of attitudes of kindness, understanding, cheerfulness, geniality, optimism and friendliness—that also is what will spill out of our pails. We can carry bad attitudes for some time without revealing too much about our inner selves—but bumps come unexpectedly—and that is when we find out what is really inside us. The bigger the bumps—the more spills out. If we are alert, we will see what really is in the pails we carry. If our lives are happy and full of good things, you can be sure the pails we carry are full of the right stuff. If we have few friends and life seems to be a chore that we do not enjoy, then we need to change what is in our pails. The good thing is that we humans do have the ability to change what we carry—as long as we have the will to change it. The book of Proverbs did not appear in the Bible by accident. It is full of wisdom and helps guide us to live happy lives, as God intended. Problems will come and we will bump people and doors, but we can be sure that what spills from our pails is a blessing to ourselves and to others. Much is written about the heart of a person, his or her attitudes, disposition and character. That is what our pails contain. In Proverbs 25:28 the author writes, "Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls." Take the time to work on attitudes that are harmful to you and others. Another proverb reads, "A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back" (Proverbs 29:11). We can all get angry and frustrated, but a mature person learns to control his or her anger. A Lesson From Peter Christians are commanded to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 1:5-9). Peter was known to react strongly when he bumped into a proverbial doorway before his conversion. He also came to know the need of changing what manner of man he was. His words are written from experience and understanding. Peter advises us all to give diligence to adding virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance and godliness to what and who we are. He also adds brotherly kindness and tells us that if we possess these items, we will never stumble and we will make our calling and election sure. It is a comfort to know there are things we can do to ensure our election and future in the family of God. Jesus Christ was always mindful that He carried the "express image" of the Father (Hebrews 1:3). He was responsible for what people thought about God by His own actions. That responsibility has been passed on to us, though we live almost 2,000 years after Christ became the Passover Lamb. True followers realize that the pails they carry do represent the nature and character of Jesus Christ. We should take care when carrying that load; but unlike the heavy yoke with its pails of milk, His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30). UN