The Last Of The Midnight Milkman

That’s it. It’s the end of an era, as they say: the last of The Midnight Milkman.

Above, you can see a photograph of the very last bottle of milk that he will ever deliver to our house. What does it say on the bottle: “fresh milk delivered to your doorstep”? Alas, no more. “Please Rinse & Return”? I’ve rinsed it, but there’s no one to come and collect it. I suppose it will have to go in the Blue Box for recycling.

He’s retiring, at last. “The business has run its course,” he said apologetically, when he came to collect his money. I thanked him, and he thanked me for my custom, and off he went. I was sad.

Why “The Midnight Milkman”? Because he came in the silence of the night; exactly when, I was never sure – but always, in the morning, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, there was the evidence that he had been out on his rounds. I never saw him; I never heard him: not even a quiet clinking of empties or a footstep by the door; but, he always delivered.

I don’t think he ever missed a day, whatever the weather, and that’s over many years, almost as long as we’ve lived in this house. I admire him for that, and for a number of other things. By an odd coincidence, I knew him when he was a young man – he was unruly, unreliable, and, at times, an unpleasant character. A change came over him as he entered into full-time employment. You could say it made a new man of him.

Have you ever wondered why the world today hasn’t much time for Christians and for their various churches? Because we do not appear to believe what we say we believe, and we do not do what we say Christians ought to do: instead, we lie, we cheat, we steal, we betray, we behave badly and we smile sincerely and say “God is good! God is love! He will forgive and forget!” - even if we aren’t in the least bit sorry for what we’ve done, believing that repentance is a relic of another age, under a dispensation long gone, and all we need to do is to repeat what we were once told: “Don’t worry! Once saved, always saved! That’s all there is to it!”

As for evangelism, well, what can we say? “Believe in Jesus Christ, take Him as your personal Saviour, and you too can become as we are!”

"Be like you? What? Behave badly, then quote bits out of the bible to back it up? Why would we want to do that?”

In other words, unlike The Midnight Milkman, we don’t deliver.

Hebrews 2.1-3. “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?”

Matthew Henry comments as follows.

Our minds and memories are like a leaky vessel, they do not, without much care, retain what is poured into them. This proceeds from the corruption of our nature, temptations, worldly cares, and pleasures. Sinning against the gospel is neglect of this great salvation; it is a contempt of the saving grace of God in Christ, making light of it, not caring for it, not regarding either the worth of gospel grace, or the want of it, and our undone state without it. The Lord's judgements under the gospel dispensation are chiefly spiritual, but are on that account the more to be dreaded. Here is an appeal to the consciences of sinners. Even partial neglects will not escape rebukes; they often bring darkness on the souls they do not finally ruin. The setting forth of the gospel was continued and confirmed by those who heard Christ, by the evangelists and apostles, who were witnesses of what Jesus Christ began both to do and to teach; and by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, qualified for the work to which they were called. And all this according to God's own will. It was the will of God that we should have sure ground for our faith, and a strong foundation for our hope in receiving the gospel. Let us mind this one thing needful, and attend to the Holy Scriptures, written by those who heard the words of our gracious Lord, and were inspired by his Spirit; then we shall be blessed with the good part that cannot be taken away.