Thank God For Coffee

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. ~Psalm 100:4

It can sometimes be difficult to be truly thankful for the things that God blesses us with in this life. Usually we don't even recognize that it is God that has provided for us in the first place and instead assume that all things come from our own effort or through luck. Not only are we not thankful to God for those things that he has blessed us with, we are not even content with them. We are constantly desiring and striving for more, taking for granted what we have to such an extent that we begin to see ourselves as not being blessed at all but rather ignored or even abused by God. What a sad state. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus sets the standard for our desires:  
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:25-34)
It is difficult to imagine a section of Scripture that goes more against the very core of our culture than this. This call to living in a way so completely dependent on God is so foreign that many modern theologians errantly teach that, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is talking about the future Kingdom, that now we should fight for what is ours, but then - sometime in the future - all things will be provided. But if this is for us today, how are we to possibly live this way? How can we possibly not worry about tomorrow? I don't claim to know the mind of God, but I do believe that He has been teaching our family the art and the value of His providence and care.

This morning, as I pondered what I was to write and was preparing a cup of coffee, I literally stopped for a moment and thanked God for my coffee. You see, it has been over a week since we've had any in the house because our funds are limited and coffee is, quite frankly, a luxury item. Yet we have some now thanks to God's provision. How does that work? Well, for that to make sense, we need to back up just a bit. 

Over the past year and half, God has been teaching us the truth of His care and of our need and our ability to rely on Him. Sometimes, we need to be brought low in order to remove the blinders that the world places on us. For our family, it worked this way: After spending nine months unemployed and finally getting a job where everything but the paycheck is fantastic, we have had to make some pretty major adjustments.  We have gone through a process of cutting out everything that was wasn't essential.  The home phone, television, texting plans, even the internet for awhile. We have had to learn to live on a budget that, after all basic bills are paid, leaves us just a bit left over for food. For the last three to four months we have had a weekly grocery budget of $20. For a family of four that seems impossible, yet we've managed to keep to that budget without skipping any meals through the grace and provision of God. 

Here are some examples of how God has provided for us: A month or so ago, my wife volunteered to handle the coordination of providing lunches to kids at a play date put on by our church. Many people donated the makings of sack lunches for about 150 kids. The play date was a great success but their were a ton of leftover perishable lunches that ended up being given to us. We spent the next couple of weeks eating peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches for every meal. That got a little old, but we didn't have to extend the grocery budget. During that same time, our pastor put on a big lunch for the whole church to celebrate his 15th anniversary as pastor at our church. There were tons of leftovers that he handed out and we again ended up with a several large meals. My dad made too much potato soup and we ended up with a huge pot. You get the idea. 

None of these people knew anything about our finances yet they provided without even knowing that God was working through them and that they were meeting a real need. You see, sandwiches didn't just go "poof!" and appear in our refrigerator, BBQ pork and soup didn't fall out of the sky (thankfully) yet God arranged things so that our needs would be met. God works through each of us to meet the needs of those around us. The other day, a lady that I work with asked me if I wanted an old tin of coffee that she hadn't opened for years I haven't had morning coffee for awhile so I said "absolutely!". While God promises to take care of our needs as we trust Him, he also occasionally provides for our wants as well. I wanted coffee, but apparently I don't need caffeine because He provided decaffeinated coffee. Yet still I am thankful for His tremendous blessings.

It was only through a time of difficulty that I was able to see the amazing blessings that God continues to provide through all things. He is always there. He is always active. He is always good. How has God worked in your life recently? Take a moment to give Him thanks for your blessings and to praise His holy name!

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. ~Colossians 3:17

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