Giving Detailed Thanks for Coffee

coffee-mug

On one level, God’s will for us is plain.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thess 5:16–18)

Putting aside the complex issue of God’s will, Paul’s exhortation makes it clear that thanksgiving must be a central part of the Christian life. Paul also writes that we should be “…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father…” (Eph 5:20).

What does this sort of universal, always-on thanksgiving look like?

Give Thanks to God

Principally, God’s people should be thankful to be God’s people, because this is a gift. Just look at Exodus 15:1–18 where Moses sings and exults in God’s Red Sea deliverance.

For the Christian, all of God’s gifts flow from the supreme gift of salvation, and we should thank him for every one.

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer. (1 Tim 4:4–5)

Moses’s song in Exodus 15 is a model of thanksgiving for us. Our modern ears might find it repetitive, but Moses is slowly rehearsing every powerful, saving work. Every detail is important, because God is in all of the details.

We glorify God when we thank him specifically. In particular, we draw attention to his generosity, power, and love when we delight in all the blessings that come from a particular gift. After all, God foreknew and planned every last blessing we experience!

Specific, Exuberant Thanksgiving

My aim is to model this type of thanksgiving.

I love coffee. This isn’t exactly a controversial opinion on the internet, since roughly 114% of Twitter bios mention it. But I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about coffee recently. (I’m teaching a class on it in the fall.)

This is just a case study; coffee isn’t the point. My aim is thanking God everywhere, at all times, for all things. I’m just getting started; how about you?

Thank You, God, for Coffee

God, thank you for coffee. What a good, pleasurable gift you’ve given!

Thank you for the way coffee tastes. I love the way the flavor varies by the origin and roast of the bean; from nutty to fruity to chocolaty, the differences are delightful. Thank you for the unmistakable jolt to my tongue when I take my first morning sip.

Thank you for the smell of coffee. You’ve created such a warm, enticing smell with this drink that many who don’t enjoy the drink welcome the smell. The intensity of the aroma over freshly-ground beans is arresting and invigorating. Thank you for the way the smell of the grounds is released by the water, pulling me like a tractor beam to the mug.

Thank you for the stimulation coffee provides. You created caffeine, and like everything you created it is good. How generous you are to give a safe chemical in a delicious form that helps so many focus, think, and create.

Thank you for the ritual that goes along with coffee. You’ve given us a welcome, peaceful process to create this great drink. From boiling to scooping to grinding to pouring, the predictable rhythm of those ten minutes is a respite from the rest of the day. Thank you for the opportunity to breathe and rest while the coffee brews.

Thank you for the beauty of coffee. Though I make it much more for its taste than its appearance, in the right hands coffee is gorgeous. You’ve created so many different shades of brown that complement and accent each other so perfectly.

Thank you for the availability of coffee. The bean is grown in limited parts of the world, but you’ve blessed the farming, processing, and distribution of coffee so that most countries have easy access.

Thank you for the conversations that coffee inspires. You’ve made it natural, at least in the States, to build friendships over this drink. So many people meet to plan, pray, study the Bible, or ponder your world while drinking coffee.

Thank you for the food that goes so well with coffee. Donuts, bagels, eggs—these all pair perfectly with coffee. This drink you’ve created is wonderful by itself, but it shines in harmony with every cake, pie, and pastry around. What delicious combinations you’ve made for us to enjoy!

God, we see your goodness and overflowing generosity in coffee. It points us to your character, your love, and the gift of your Son for us. Thank you!


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Photo Credit: karl chor (2015), public domain

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Jesus, the Moka Pot, and Me

My wife loves coffee. When the mood strikes, she breaks out this little classic, the Moka pot.

moka3

It’s easy: tuck grounds and water into their assigned quarters, then draw out the good stuff on the stove. Add water or milk to taste.

This Italian friend delivers a tasty beverage and makes my wife happy. And yet, I hate the Moka pot.

I am aware this is not rational.

Whose Mess?

My main issue: the Moka pot is not dishwasher-safe. In our house, this means I scrub the bugger.

Now the Moka pot isn’t difficult to wash by hand. Some disassembly is required, but I can clean everything without much fuss. Two or three minutes, tops.

In my mind, however, this process takes hours of tortuous labor. So, far too often, I ignore the Moka pot. He awaits cleansing by the side of the pool, for he has no one to lower him into the waters.

But my sin goes beyond mere neglect—there’s a dangerous storm brewing in my heart. That’s not mine, it’s hers. Why should I have to wash it when she’s the one who dirtied it? Why should I have to clean up her mess?

This thinking is not just silly and selfish. It may just be blasphemous.

Telling Lies

Consider this well-known verse.

For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. (Eph 5:23, ESV)

Douglas Wilson has noted this is not a command but rather a statement of fact. And the comparison in this verse should drive Christian husbands to their knees.

Every marriage, everywhere in the world, is a picture of Christ and the church. Because of sin and rebellion, many of these pictures are slanderous lies concerning Christ. But a husband can never stop talking about Christ and the church. If he is obedient to God, he is preaching the truth; if he does not love his wife, he is speaking apostasy and lies—but he is always talking. If he deserts his wife, he is saying that this is the way Christ deserts His bride—a lie. If he is harsh with his wife and strikes her, he is saying that Christ is harsh with the church—another lie. If he sleeps with another woman, he is an adulterer, and a blasphemer as well. How could Christ love someone other than His own Bride? (Reforming Marriage, p.25)

He is always talking. Ouch. What am I saying about Christ as I leave the Moka pot dirty?

If I am unwilling to clean up my wife’s mess, I’m lying to the world about Christ’s love for the church. I’m saying that Jesus leaves the Church to wash herself, to fix her own problems.

What’s the Truth?

Praise God that this life-sermon I preach about Jesus is not true! Instead of neglecting the church and leaving her responsible for her own purity, Jesus cleansed the church “so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Eph 5:27) Further, since God took initiative in our salvation (Rom 5:8), my laziness and neglect toward my wife are not the last word.

In his mercy, God lifts my gaze from my lies to his truth. This is worth proclaiming and sharing far and wide!

If you’d like to discuss it, I know a beverage we can share.


Disclosure: the link to Amazon.com in this blog post is an affiliate link, meaning that I get a small percentage of any purchase you make on Amazon if you make that purchase after clicking through this link.

Photo Credit: downbeatpuppet, Creative Commons License