Your life is a drink offering. At least Paul described his own as such in two different occasions, and given the context, it seems he was likening his life to wine (Philippians 2:17; 2 Timothy 4:6; Leviticus 23:13). If you’re at all like me, your first thought is something along the lines of, “What possibly could life have in common with wine?!” and you would be right to ask this question. Oddly enough, there is quite a bit in common.
Not every grape grows well in every climate. Your soul also does not thrive under just any condition. No, God knew this and He created each of us for a specific environment. For instance, I would not thrive if I were supplanted to Atlanta. Why? Well, for starters, I’m not quite city folk, but I don’t have to be. For you it may be different. It takes a certain kind of person to be able to thrive in each environment and so understanding how you work with those environmental variables is crucial in cultivating your life.
We have no control over the weather. Though the climate is right, we often encounter seasons that make it more difficult to see fruit as its result. This is what wine makers deal with every day of every year with both drought and over watering. Because we’ve understood the right environment, doesn’t mean there there won’t be anything we don’t have control over, there will be a lot, and we have two options in our reaction. We can either complain and ask the weather to change or we can adapt ourselves and be joyful throughout. Take a look here at each with Zechariah:
“And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.’
“And Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.’ And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.'” – Luke 1:11-13, 18-20
“And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, ‘No; he shall be called John.’ And they said to her, ‘None of your relatives is called by this name.’ And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.” – Luke 1:59-64
We have both options laid out before us. Zechariah shows us both in the above verses. At first, he takes the situation and merely doubts. He doesn’t accept and try to make the best of the situation and he is muted. As a side note, his muting isn’t a punishment, but rather God’s mercy in helping Zechariah understand the folly of his ways. Then, once John is born and named, the first thing out of Zechariah’s mouth is praise to God. After nine months of being a mute, all Zechariah wants to do is speak blessings of God. Wow. Here we almost see a completely different person as Zechariah has chosen to make sweet aromatic wine and as we read it on the page, we drink it in. It here tastes sweet, smells of luscious fruit and is pleasing to the senses.
This is how life should be. No one likes bitter, murky, sour, stinky or flavorless wine and we shouldn’t be OK with our lives being described in any of these ways. Life is to be bold, sweet (to taste), fragrant and otherwise appealing to the senses. If our lives are a drink offering as Paul’s, what are we offering up to God? Often times, my life more resembles vinegar than wine and those around me notice. However, this is not a drink offering. Each day, the decision is up to us: do we make fine wine under the circumstances we cannot control or do we sit idle and let the wine turn to the vinegar of doubt and complaining? It’s your choice, but your life is a drink offering.