Let’s talk about one of my most favorite blessings: coffee. Its bittersweet ebony nectar brings a beautiful calm to my mornings (and afternoons and evenings and…) and I am so thankful that coffee is widely available in this day and age.
Fortunately for me, I am not truly addicted (anymore, at least) to caffeine like most Americans and I can function completely normally without my morning coffee. But a morning coffee is a signal of a healthy morning routine for me. As an introvert, I’m desperate for a quiet morning with minimal human interaction and this prepares me for the coming day. A cup of coffee and my book for twenty or thirty minutes is a perfect and calming start to my day. So it should be no surprise that a prayer over coffee is a pretty frequent thing; quiet time and Bible reading is usually accompanied by a cup of the glorious brew. But despite all this, despite my love for a private cup o’ joe, I don’t believe in coffee as an independent activity.
When my husband and I were registering for wedding gifts, more than once I had to field the question of “aren’t you asking for a Keurig?” “Don’t you want a Keurig?” The answer, consistently, was ‘no’. Why? A few reasons:
- The cost per cup of a Keurig is ridiculous. We drink way too much coffee for that to be a reasonable option.
- Keurigs are very labor intensive and cannot be programmed to automatically make your coffee so that it will be ready when you are waking up.
- K-cups create a lot of waste. Even not being environmentalists, we just can’t justify that when we are supposed to be stewarding God’s creation.
And most importantly of all:
- Single-serve coffee in the home destroys the communal nature of coffee-drinking.
I was raised in a household where coffee was a very social event. It was shared with breakfast (a second cup of coffee after breakfast was a luxury for weekends, days off and half-day) and after dinner, when the family pushed their chairs back from the table after the dishes were cleared and sat talking over (decaf) coffee. This has always been to me a perfect example of what a family serving Christ was meant to be: an interconnected group sharing in a common experience, engaging with one another on a deeper level. That is what coffee is supposed to facilitate.
But why would a Keurig wreck this? How could each person having their own custom-brewed cup somehow ruin that beautiful experience? In short, it doesn’t, but it does severely hamper it. Instead of sharing from the same pot, drinking the same coffee, we break ourselves off into individual people sharing a table and relying on our own preferences, customizing the experience to our own tastes.
There is something beautiful about pouring your loved one a cup of coffee, giving them a full cup and yourself only half a cup because there isn’t enough for two full cups. In Acts 20:35, Paul tells us that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive,’ and it seems to me that single-serving coffee is much more in the spirit of receiving than of giving, seeking after our own individual cup personalized to our tastes, rather than “having everything in common,” as Acts 4:32 tells us the first Christians did, sharing everything they owned. So let’s start by sharing a simple cup of coffee, the same cup of coffee.
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4
So here is my proposition, my challenge: share your coffee. Make a pot of the kind of coffee (or tea) someone else likes and share it with them. While it is brewing, thank God for the beautiful flavor about to meet your lips and that you have an opportunity to break bread (or, well, beans) in His name with one of His children. Praise Him for creating something that creates such a wonderful, soothing drink. Praise Him for teaching someone in Ethiopia how to invent it. Praise Him for milk and sugar to put in it, coconut to roast it with, cake to eat with it. Then drink it. Drink it with praise on your lips and fellowship in your heart. Let it be a vehicle by which you develop deep and affectionate relationships with your brothers and sisters, and welcome a stranger with the heart of the One that provided the coffee. Bond over the same cup of shared coffee.