I recently started at a new job in Melbourne CBD. My new office is located on Bourke Street, close to the hustle and bustle of Chinatown, which is a nice change having previously worked for many years in a quiet corner of Docklands. As I took a walk along Bourke Street Mall the other day, I saw a long line of mostly university students outside a shop. I later found out that they were queueing for bubble tea.
What is bubble tea? It is a sweet tea-based drink, containing tea of some kind, milk and/or flavours, as well as toppings, such as the chewy pearls, fruit jelly, grass jelly, or puddings. Surprisingly, bubble tea doesn’t get its name from the pearls in the drink. But, rather from the bubble froth produced after the tea mixture is shaken to enhance its flavour. The pearls are made from a process which shapes starch from tapioca roots to their pearl form. Since its birth in Taiwan in the late 80s, bubble tea has taken the world by storm. Numerous stores or franchises have popped up around the world. According to foodies’ website Zomato, there are at least 37 bubble tea stores today in Melbourne CBD alone.
Is bubble tea good for you? I don’t want to burst the bubble – no pun intended – but I just learned that tapioca pearls found in bubble tea are very unhealthy. An average cup of bubble tea contains 45-55g of sugar and has a whopping 340 calorie count. That’s more sugar than a can of Coke! But fret not! There are other alternatives toppings to add to your bubble tea besides the pearls, which makes it “less unhealthy”.
As I write this I began to wonder, is everything sweet bad for you? Several articles on the internet indicate that there are actually a number of sweet things which are good for you, and honey comes on top of the list. Honey brings many natural benefits to our body. Apparently honey can boost energy, stave off diabetes, lower cholesterol, increase skin tone, reduce hair loss, even prevent fizz and split ends. Honey also has antibacterial properties. The Manuka honey for example has been shown to fight digestive bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers. An article by the CSIRO even says that having the right amount of honey as part of your afternoon snack could help prevent weight gain.
The Bible says in Psalm 119:103 “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth”. The Psalmist uses that analogy because the word of God provides us many natural benefits, beyond those offered by honey. When taken in daily, the word of God nourishes, strengthen, and equip us for good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), it renews our mind (Romans 12:2), and it helps us battle sins and temptations (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Do you also know that natural honey is the only type of food that does not go bad? Its antibacterial properties combined with its supersaturation of sugar prevent the growth of yeast and other fungal spores.
Peter once said to Jesus, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Not only it is naturally good for us, and it could help us fight sins, the word of God lasts forever (Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:25) and it gives us an everlasting benefit. The word of God leads us to eternal life in Jesus Christ. Words of eternal life are the sweetest words of all. So, let’s remember that this month as you sip through your bubble tea, or hot chocolate, or chai latte, or any sweet beverage of your choice.
PS: If you need help to start getting into reading and enjoying the Bible every day, Phil and I are always available. Speak to us at church, or contact us via email, or on Facebook, we can go for a cup of coffee (or bubble tea). Also, I still have a few copies of Tim Keller’s My Rock My Refuge, a daily devotional based on the Psalms, which we are using in Malvern PC as our Bible reading plan this year. It’s a great way to kick start the new financial year :)