Vice President of Spiritual Life, Chaplain Rick Jones, recently wrote this devotion on "a land flowing with milk and honey." As we begin to spread the word about how churches and youth groups can support our kids by hosting a Honey Sunday, I thought this would be fitting to share.
Deuteronomy 26:8-9 “8 So the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and with miraculous signs and wonders. 9He brought us to this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Did you know that honey is the only food that never spoils? Archaeologists have found honeycombs in pyramids that are thousands of years old. When they heat up the honeycombs, the honey can still be eaten. Honey is sweet. It is a treat for the senses and it lasts forever. Milk, on the other hand, spoils almost immediately if it is not refrigerated and even then, you're lucky to get more than a week out of a carton before it goes sour. Yet milk is the basic source of nourishment for at least our first year of life. Milk sustains us and nurtures us daily. It gives us everything we need to survive.
These foods are part of God's grace for his people in the description of the Promised Land. The land itself was a means of salvation for God's people. After wandering in the wilderness for forty years, a place for them to settle and call their own was a much-needed gift. It was a place of rest, a place of safety. One aspect of this land was that it would be "flowing with milk and honey." It would be a place of continual nourishment and an everlasting promise of sweet satisfaction. When I understand the Promised Land this way, I am reminded of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch.
We provide a place of safety and rest for our residents—a Promised Land of sorts. The daily residential care we provide is like the milk. It nurtures our youth from day-to-day. The coping skills, the breakthroughs in therapy, and the independent living skills are the honey. These lessons and learnings never go bad. Our residents will have them to fall back on for comfort their entire lives. God provides the same blessings for all time. He provided a Promised Land of milk and honey for the Israelites and He does the same for our residents through the ministry of Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch. Your service for the children at the Ranch is a fulfillment of God's ongoing blessings.
God provides these ongoing blessings of milk and honey for you as well. He does this through the Church. The sacrament of baptism is a one-time blessing from God that is always good. Baptism is a continual promise that God has adopted you and called you His child. And like honey, your baptism never spoils. You can always go back to the promise of salvation God granted you in your baptism. The continued nourishment of milk is provided by the Lord's Supper. As your congregation gathers, it receives this sacrament again and again. It is the milk that nourishes you here and now and that you get to experience over and over. God's promises will continue forever. The milk and honey of the Promised Land are still here today. They are present for the children at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch and they are given to you in the caring community of the Church.
--Chaplain Rick Jones
Honey has become an icon at the Ranch. In the old days, we owned our own bees and produced our own honey. Now, we purchase raw honey from a local Minot, ND beekeeper, then process and bottle it for our donors. We send every Ranch donor a bottle of honey at the end of the year to thank them for their continued support of our ministry. We also ask our friends to organize Honey Sunday events at their church—these Honey Sunday fundraisers are held all over the United States in October and November. Our ministry of hope and healing continues thanks to the support of these churches, and the generosity and prayers from people like you.
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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a Christian residential treatment and educational center for children and their families. We help the most troubled, complicated, and amazing kids by providing best-in-class psychiatric therapy and trauma-informed care, where we look kids in the eye, walk with them, and help them become their best selves.