THE SUGAR MILL (Part 1)
In this series I will print them here exactly as delivered over the air.
THE MILLING PROCESS Read: 2 Cor. 11:16-33
During October 1981 I brought this series on the Sugar Mill and it went down very well with the listeners. As I promised just before going on leave that I would deliver it again because very few on channel have heard it, except perhaps for Jorrie, Manie and some of the faithful silent listeners of old. It does no harm to do some revision of old messages. This series is unique I its content and I am sure you will all find it very interesting to follow. For those who do not pick me up so well and who would like not to miss out, then Ted can give my telephone number over the air and after the series has been completed, I will only be too pleased to let those people who contact me have a copy of the series.
Have you ever had the privelege of visiting one of our country’s sugar mills? If you have, no doubt you would have noticed that as you were conducted on your tour that the start of the process looked very uncomplicated, but as you progressed through the factory you slowly became more and more confused at the complexity of the equipment, and the maze of pipe-work involved! It is only when you come to the final or end product that one sees the change in what was first fed into the beginning of the process to what has now become the final or finished product.
Having being personally involved in the design and fabrication of several sugar mills, including one in Malawi on the edge of Lake Malawi, the Dwangwa Sugar Mill, I will conduct you on a five morning (or rather a series of 5) tours through the factory. We will look at 5 sections of the complex, the first of which will be the milling process.
The process first starts in the sugar field when it is determined that the cane is ready for cutting down. The fields selected are put on the fire and all the dead rubbish is burned away. Then the cane is cut down with cane knives and the leaves stripped off. These canes are now bundled and sent by truck or rail to the mill where they are weighted and loaded onto a special conveyor and tipped into a special cane shredder. Here the cane is cut into small pieces and hammered into a pulp, so that the hard outer surface is broken up. From here this mass of pulp is tipped into what is called a diffuser. It is a huge box arrangement, which for simplicity sake, is like a huge hot water bath where the sucrose content of the cane is slowly dissolved out. The spongy mass that comes out of the diffuser contains soaked up juice, so the extract it, it goes through a series of rollers that press out the juice. These are called the de-watering mills. What happens to the juice we will look at in the second of this series.
Let us look briefly at the front end process as it applies to the Christian. The cane in the field represents the average man, woman and child, for God can use all of us as we shall see. When the cane is burned in the field to get rid of the leaves and dead rubbish, our conscience is seared; we begin to get a guilt feeling, the start of repentance. At this stage already God starts to rid us of lots of the rubbish that is part of our normal daily life. We must accept this part of the stripping in our life if we are to go forward and grow in the Spirit. What are all these leaves that should be stripped from the new Christian? They are, to name a few, murder, stealing, rape, magic arts, spiritism, immorality, etc. All these must not be part of the Christian life.
When the cane is bundled and weighed and loaded onto the trucks we begin to see all of our sins. Our mind weighs them up and it also weigh on our minds. When the cane is put on the cane table, that special conveyor, this is the beginning of the process. Listeners, it is when we lay ourselves down at Jesus’ feet, sinful and dirty and fire blackened as we are, that we start our Christian life, and not before. There are those who say that they first have to do something about their life before coming to Jesus. I say that, that does not work. We cannot change our own life by ourselves. The best is to just surrender completely to Jesus and He will let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
Until you are on the conveyor, you will never reach the sugar stage. Won’t you place yourself at Jesus’ feet this morning? Put yourself on that table and let Him take you from there.
The cane is then fed to the shredder and hammered into pieces. The worldly life too often mould us into a special form and we become hardened to sin. Our hearts are hardened to God’s Word. God has to break our outer casing. Have you often wondered why we have to undergo so many trials and tribulations? God has to get that “I”, that “me”, my obstinate self-will out of me. Accept these times, they are there for a reason, even though we may not understand why.
Our outer shell has been cut and pounded, we have lost some of the shape we had when we were in the world. We now go into the great diffuser and slowly but surely the good in our old self is dissolved out, the bad and useless husks left behind. Even those husks have some goodness in them, so they have to go through the huge rollers where the juice is slowly pressed out. This pressing out of the juice can be painful at times, but we are to endure and take what God has for us. Let no one tell you that the Christian life is a bed of roses. Remember, with the pleasant aroma of the rose buds there are also the thorns on the stems. Today we visited the milling stage of the factory. When a sinner accepts Christ and hands his body and soul over to Him, Christ has to change him. Paul says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17). The moment that great shredder hits us we become a new creation. So many Christians leave it just there. This is wrong, we have to progress along our Christian journey, we have to grow. To grow in Christ we have to go through the milling process. New Christians, do not despair if, at the beginning of your new life hard times hit you. Persevere, for as we continue on our tour through the factory, the road slowly becomes sweeter. In our next tour, God willing, we will follow the raw juice through the clarification, or cleaning process. So be with me on Tuesday morning. Don’t miss this guided tour, God bless you all!