Coffee and the Cross

Here's something I was pondering last week, but I was too sick to write about it. I've blogged about coffee before, and anyone who knows me knows I love my coffee - although my friend criticizes that I like my coffee too sugary.  It's true, I "doctor up" my coffee like I own huge amounts of stock in the sugar industry, but that doesn't mean I love coffee any less.  (And as an aside, please buy fair trade to ensure your coffee and sugar products aren't the result of trafficked labor.)   But back to business*:

Though humorous, I feel that this comic identifies how many of us feel about our coffee (tea lovers - you're not exempt!  Just substitute "tea" for "coffee."  I would have changed the title to "Coffee, tea, and the cross," but I'm a Christian and all Christians alliterate.)  Some mornings, I wake up groggy with a headache, and as I stumble toward the sink to wash up, my first thought is "I need a cup of coffee."  Sometimes the thought comes later in the day when I look at my schedule or when I calculate how late I will need to stay up to get stuff done.

But since when was this OK?  I'm not going to go the Mormon route and say that all psycho-active drugs are bad, but I think it's good to take a step away from things.  It's not OK to rely on a drink as a savior.  Coffee should not be the first thing I turn to when I wake up in the morning or when I have a lot on my plate.  I shouldn't even ever "need" coffee.  It's not exactly the same thing, but I am reminded of the verse that says, "Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit."  Though it's OK to drink coffee, and I would even go so far as to say that coffee can be a productivity tool to get things done (though the concept of productivity is for another post entirely), we shouldn't be turning to coffee to get us through the day.  Instead, we can learn from the way we treat coffee - our dependence on it, our turning to it as a "first solution" instead of a "last resort," the way we return for more and more of it - and learn to treat God this way instead.

At the end of the day, coffee makes a lousy functional savior.  Instead, we need the cross.  When I wake up in the morning, I am just as much of a sinner as when I went to sleep, and I need just as much grace.  When I have a lot to do, I need to remember that the life I live isn't a story about me, but rather I am a minor supporting character in the story of God; the things I need to get done aren't important because they're in my life but rather because God has given them to me to do.  When I need to stay up late to get work done, I need to do it for the glory of God, doing nothing out of grumbling and complaining, but giving thanks in all circumstances.  Of course, coffee might help with the process, but it's the motive that matters.

Why do you drink coffee (or tea)?
*comic from Exploding Dog Comics