My experience of tea while growing up was nothing exceptional. Tealeaves were placed into a teapot, allowed to brew and poured over a strainer into a cup. No one quite made tea the way my mother did, but in those days I had little experience of any other tea. I don’t think teabags had been invented, and there was none of the competition between brands that exists today. And there was no influence from advertising because we did not have a television.
The lack of television must have been a challenge to the marketing people of the day. One company in the UK came up with the idea of using chimpanzees to market their tea. In the small island where I lived the children could go along to a church hall or other venue on a Saturday morning to watch films for free. The chimpanzees featured heavily in the films along with the manufacturer’s tea. At the end of the morning there were free gifts, including samples of tea to take home to our families.
As I got older I discovered that not every cup of tea tasted as good as the tea I was accustomed to at home. When I left home I stopped drinking tea completely for several years. Then one day I began to explore other teas. I found that Darjeeling (had a taste that was very pleasing to my palate. Darjeeling is often described as the ‘champagne of teas’, i.e. the best (http://www.darjeelingtea.com/files/teafaqs.asp).
For many years I have been completely satisfied with the same brand of Darjeeling. Then I received a gift on Father’s Day this year of a small packet labelled ‘Organic Darjeeling First Flush’ – and a little teapot shaped brewing device. I duly followed the instructions and packed the leaves into the brewing device. I placed it into a cup and added boiling water. Three minutes later and I had the best cup of tea I can even remember. The only problem now is that I am challenged by the possibility that there may be an even better cup of tea to be found.
When I compare my tea journey to my spiritual journey there are some disturbing similarities! For years I got by with the same old tea, never imagining that there was better tea to discover. For several years I didn’t even bother with tea. Then one day I found Darjeeling and convinced myself that I could not better the Darjeeling taste experience. This year I discovered that I could.
There is always more to discover in our relationship with God. We just have to keep on seeking. My understanding is that the Darjeeling tea grows on steep slopes in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains. If I want the best then I know that the journey will not be easy, but it will be worthwhile.
44“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.
45“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. 46When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! (Matthew 13 – NLT)
There is always more.