My wife asked me what my passion was the other day. This was probably stemming from the fact that I am one of those “weekend warriors” or “next best thing” type people trying to find those passions and past times that make us all feel…..well…..fulfilled. It has been a long time since I wrote my last blog on my passion for whiskey and I just miss it, as well as the deeper part of sharing something I love with others. Other than of course my family, what do I love? When I think of all the time I spend with my family and when I am not with my family other than my job and career and a leader of teachers and students of a very small 7-12 school in Washington State, I love the experiences that come with my “whiskey adventures” and I love God. God first, of course, and with that, all else falls into place.
So, here I go putting the pieces back into place with God at the top…WHISKEY AND HIS WORD. Now I know that there are many out there that would say, “wait a minute, the Word looks down on alcohol…..” Does it? And we can take anything out of context. With God, it is not about the religion, but the relationship that He desires with us. Not the ceremonies, the rituals, the good works we try to do to earn His love. It is all about us loving Him because He loved us first and saved us. Well, I don’t drink whiskey to simply drink; I experience it because of the great things that come with it like the memories, experiences, people, passion, art, science, and love. Just like a pretty good relationship, I would think. So even though I spend time daily talking with God and learning how to be in a better relationship with Him and embrace His love and word, I am going to carve out time Wednesday afternoons when I get home from a long day to thank God, enjoy a small dram of some sort of whiskey, giving thanks to Him and diving into some study of His word with focus on leadership. As I am a leader, I want to learn how to be a Godly leader as I share a dram with God diving into His word.
Whisky: Old Pulteney 12
Tonight’s dram will a 12-year-old Old Pulteney. Where is Old Pulteney? Old Pulteney is what some call a sailers scotch located in the very high part of the Highlands of Scotland. Up past the Islay areas and Highlands. Not one of the many distilleries I got
to visit when my family and I visited just this last summer, but one that I will visit for next time. I will break down three main parts of each whisky I share with you to get a better idea of not just the taste, but the whole experience. Remember, whisky is an experience, not just a drink. It is about the emotions, memories, and experiences that it creates and brings up.
Color: For a 12-year-old, it is a very dark amber color. It makes me think of that stuff that the mosquito was stuck in for millions of years from the Movie Jurassic Park. You know….the tree sap stuff.
Nose: mmmm…I guess I would explain this as an almost salty and sweet like baked fruit.
Taste: Not a super complex Scotch whisky, but bitter on the front with citrus type notes. Kind of like when you nibble into a lemon rind and it has those bitter notes. However, it has a leathery taste that tends to creep off the tongue, not too quick or too slow. Then you start to find other complex notes like some type of caramel vanilla creme brulee that is overcooked. I also think of an overripe orchard fruit and a really salty apricot.
Word: 1 Corinthians 9:24 – 27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
When many of us think about our spiritual life, we don’t always think about the hard work and dedication it takes to follow the example Christ left for us. This scripture does not just talk about our instant thought of “sports” but, it tries to make a connection on what it takes to prepare and participate in challenging activities. The dedication it takes to focus on and develop our spiritual lives that form the core of our character is just as important and just as difficult, but meaningful and satisfying.
I think of this connection of the teamwork, determination, and sacrifice it takes to “run the race” or train ourselves for a goal. It takes those same characteristics to train for our “race” of developing our spiritual habits for God. Just like the focus and dedication to learning the art and science to whisky can be translated over to the dedication and focus in preparation in athletics to compete at the highest level. Well, more importantly, it takes that daily sacrifice to die to our flesh and sin and to pick up the cross daily for God and give that same effort, dedication, sacrifice, and determination for Him.
Paul knew this and what that sacrifice looked like as he tried to reflect this example left by Jesus for Him. Just like a runner and boxer spend the time to develop their physical stamina to run the race or to take and deliver the blows needed, Paul trained his spiritual gifts, skills, and habits to run the race for God.
What does your race look like? Just like seasons, your race may be uphill at times, downhill, in the sand, or on the rocks, but it is the race still the same. Lean on God and give Him your sacrifice, dedication, and teamwork and allow Him to help you and carry you through as well. There are different parts of your life that are part of the race for God from your physical fitness, to balancing work and home life, financial and personal accountability, to time dedication to God and His Word and promise to you. Train it and remember that is is not just a race and trying to beat others, but the way we train and run the race is what is important.
I hope God’s word helps you this week as I pray it helps and focuses me to run the good race for God.
Dear heavenly Father, I pray for all those out there to find that dedication, focus, sacrifice, and teamwork to train their spiritual habits and gifts you have blessed them with. The race will not always be easy, but you are there God with us every step of the way and I pray we remember that. God, it is not a race to beat others, but to become the racers you planned us to be and that every day we learn what that is and help others in their race. I pray this week that we are open to feel and see our race, support others in theirs, and to thank You every step of the way. Amen.
Have a good week and as they say in Scottland with a friend or loved one over a nice dram…..SLAINTE