Ministry Resources

Oatmeal Days

Author: Nancy A. Stevens

Since I was a little girl, I’ve heard the saying: “Confession is good for the soul,” so I have a confession to make.

When my husband finds holes in his raisin bread and no walnuts in the banana-nut cereal, he doesn’t bother writing the companies to complain. And he doesn’t put out a mousetrap to catch the little crook. After 32 years of marriage, he knows the culprit very well.

The cereal companies never put in enough apples, dates and cranberries to satisfy my taste. I’m convinced that they’ve mixed up the ratio of fruit to flakes. If I were making a cereal, I’d put in tons of fruit and nuts with a few flakes of grain tossed in as an afterthought. Fortunately, I’m married to a wonderful husband who doesn’t mind my eating the nuts out of the granola, the strawberries out of the ice cream, and the cherries out of the fruitcake.

One morning several weeks ago, while I was eating my breakfast, I thought to myself, Hmmm, I’m beginning to develop a taste for the oatmeal even without the raisins.

Then God spoke very clearly to me, “In life, you have to learn to appreciate the oatmeal and not just the raisins.”

What’s the oatmeal in life?

The everyday routine of seemingly unimportant tasks; the monotonous jobs that must be tackled over and over again; the boring, unrewarding duties that must be attended to daily.

Life’s raisins are so much easier to accept: the extraordinary moments when God supernaturally intervenes, the times He uses us in a special way to touch someone else’s life, the unexpected triumph, or the abundant blessing that we can hardly contain.

As I was pondering this, I recalled that Jesus didn’t begin His public ministry on earth until He was 30 years old. Before that, He spent untold hours fixing broken chair legs, sanding benches, and making ox carts. But He was just as obedient to His Father when He was doing those mundane things as He was later when He healed the sick, fed the multitudes, and raised the dead. He was content to do whatever His Father wanted Him to do at the moment because He had learned the joy of obedience.

Great Lesson

Some of our greatest lessons are learned during the “oatmeal” times.

Often we’re not even aware that we’re learning anything of eternal significance until later when we realize our attitude has changed and something that used to annoy us no longer provokes the same response.

So when the contents of the vacuum cleaner spill onto my clean carpet, or someone leaves muddy footprints on the kitchen floor, I’ll try to remind myself that Jesus swept up sawdust countless times and cleaned up many messes. When I’m driving my husband to and from work, running errands on a dreary day or delivering a welcoming gift to a new neighbor, I’ll think of the joy of serving our Father in very practical ways. And I’ll trust that He is working in me to change me into the likeness of His obedient Son.

What's Next

We would love to answer any question you have or help suggest next steps on your journey.