Bread & Milk
by Bruce W. Durbin
(copyright 2002)

My grandparents were dairy farmers.  As a young boy, when I would spend the night with them, our dinner was often a simple affair consisting of fresh milk (from the cow, not a carton) and bread.  The bread would be placed in a bowl and the fresh, cold milk would be poured over the bread.  In order to make the meal more appealing, my Grandmother would sprinkle a little sugar on top of the bread and milk for me.  

Compared to the elaborate meals served in expensive restaurants, with waiters attending to your every need and whim, the bread and milk dinner was very humble. 

Though a lifetime has passed and my grandparents have long entered Heaven, I can still vividly recall the scene of myself, as a small boy, sitting at a table with my grandparents, our heads bowed, and my grandparents offering up prayers of thanksgiving to God for the simple meal of bread and milk.

From the technological contraptions that are called computers to the automobiles that propel us to our destinations to the application forms required for employment, the complexity of this world increases with every second. 

As we maneuver through this complex world, we often become so entranced with the complexity that we begin to believe that our spiritual lives are also governed by a complex operating system.

The simplicity in achieving Heaven is pointedly described in, perhaps, the most familiar scripture, John 3:16:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

In contrast to the simple meal of bread and milk, the study of Rectilinear Motion provides an example of the complexity of the world in which we live.   In Francis Sears' book, College Physics: Mechanics, Heat, and Sound, the following problem is presented:

"The engineer of a passenger train traveling at 100 ft/sec sights a freight train whose caboose is 600 ft ahead on the same track.  The freight train is traveling in the same direction as the passenger train with a velocity of 30 ft/sec.  The engineer of the passenger train immediately applies the brakes, causing a constant deceleration of 4 ft/sec2, while the freight train continues with constant speed....Will there be a collision?"

Will there be a collision? 

For the student of physics, the above problem can be easily answered by applying certain formulas and making several calculations.   The student will apply what he has learned in class, in order to correctly answer the question.  Other than the time constraints placed by the teacher, the student is under no pressure to solve the problem.

For the engineer of the passenger train, the above problem isn't a question of applying formulas and making calculations, but rather it is a question of hope:  I hope there won't be a collision.   The engineer experiences the intensity of a situation where is no certain outcome.  While the engineer applies the brakes and hopes for a safe ending, he is filled with anxiety, as the two trains race towards each other.

For the student of physics, the problem involves written text (the cited problem), calculations (on paper or in a calculator), and the correct answer (Yes or No).  The student doesn't see the face of the engineer of the passenger train, doesn't see the faces of the passengers, and doesn't
experience fear of a horrendous crash.  There is no personal involvement of the physics' student with the problem, other than solving the problem.

For the engineer of the passenger train, the problem involves the potential reality of people dying.  The engineer not only feels his own anxiety, but also recalls the faces of the passengers that earlier boarded his train. The engineer tries to control his emotions, as he thinks of the families that are on board his train.  The engineer thinks of the times that he has spent with
his friend, the engineer of the freight train.  The engineer of the passenger train has a very personal attachment to the problem; right or wrong, he wants the answer to be, "There will not be a collision."

While the problem is the same (Will there be a collision?), the intensity of solving the problem greatly varies between the student (having no personal connection to the terror of a potential collision) and the train engineer (having personal connection to the terror of a potential collision).

Will there be a collision?

As the physics' student is able to study a motion problem without any personal connection, it is relatively easy to read the Holy Bible without any personal commitment; the Holy Bible becomes merely a book containing stories.

Take the student out of the classroom and place them physically on the racing passenger train and their enthusiasm for solving the problem will be greatly increased and their interest in the outcome (Will there be a collision?) will be greatly intensified.

Likewise, when a person discovers that the Holy Bible is not just a book of stories, but rather a compilation of prophecies made, prophecies fulfilled and prophecies to be filled, they become more interested in the outcome, as they race towards God's judgment.

Bread and Milk.

As my dinners of bread and milk with my grandparents were simple, the truth in living a spiritual life is simple.  As John 6:47-51 relates:

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.  I am that bread of life.  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead.  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven:  if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."

It is a simple thing to say, "All men die and there is a God."  The plan of salvation is simple.  The consequences of sin are simple (Hell).  The rewards of righteousness are simple (Heaven). 

The complexity of the matter begins, when a person removes themselves from the equation and becomes simply an uninterested spectator (physics student).

Will there be a collision?

The minute that we're born into this world, we begin a race towards death and God's judgment, as two speeding trains in a physics' problem.  Will you solve the problem of Heaven or Hell before the inevitable collision?

Milk and Bread.

While Kings and Queens, Movie Stars, and Presidents never shook the hands of my grandparents, listening to the prayers of my grandparents at that small farm table and over a simple meal of milk and bread, there was no doubt that they held the hand of God. 
My grandparents solved the problem and avoided the collision.


Bruce W. Durbin is a freelance writer, whose articles have featured on many Christian online publications.  He is also the author of Almost Heaven and Almost Hell ( and

<<BACK to list of Articles & Poems
to inspire and encourage
Articles & Poems