I’m a coffee drinker. My kids are coffee drinkers; well, I have one outlier that drinks tea as does my wife. Tea drinkers kind of break my heart, but that’s another story.
Anyway, my dad’s parents had both passed before I was born as well as Mom’s mother. So, Mom always did things to help my sister and I remember Grandpa since he lived about 500 miles away from us.
One of Mom’s favorite early memories in her life was how her dad would leave a bit of coffee in his cup or saucer knowing she would drink it. So, she wanted her kids to keep the tradition, and we have. My sister and I started early in life and remain avid coffee people, though I more than her. I’ve probably had every coffee making device ever invented.
So, by now you’re asking, Gary, how are you going to wrangle a devotional out of coffee, especially when so many people abhor the stuff? Well, here goes…
For real coffee drinkers, it’s a habit. Not a bad habit. Smoking is a bad habit. Eating vegetables is a good habit. Habits are neutral; it is what you do that makes it bad or good.
So, for coffee drinkers, we have a routine; we have a cup of coffee every morning. But, we each have our own little ritual that we perform to have that cup and that ritual is almost as important as the cup of coffee, itself.
Maybe your ritual is as simple driving to Starbucks, ordering your grande latte, pulling up, getting that hot cup, paying, and go on your way to work, smelling the rich aroma as you complete your drive. Perhaps, like me, you buy whole bean coffee, so your ritual includes grinding the beans to just the right consistency. Regardless of your routine, I’m confident you’ve built a habit that contains a ritual, all of which contribute to the satisfaction you receive from that first sip; suddenly you’re awake and ready for the day.
These routines and rituals are the keys to effective times with God, as well. Paul said pray continually, so we should always be in communication with God. However, we also need times that are set apart to make our petitions known to God; for the Holy Spirit that lives within us to speak to us; to make us aware of things we should work on in our lives; people we should be interceding for in prayer; and to seek the Father’s will that we may align ourselves with Him. And, of course, we should be reading and studying the Bible. Unfortunately, these vital activities tend to fall apart and get pushed aside due to “life.” We have good intentions, but we find it difficult to keep these activities active. Now, take a sip of coffee.
For coffee drinkers, it’s the routine and ritual that enables us to keep this going for years and perhaps our whole life. Apply these same aspects to your quiet times with God. Become addicted to getting alone with Him. Create a routine that, if violated, makes you really grumpy, and create a ritual that brings you into God’s presence. You go to a quiet place, you lock the door, you begin by saying the Lord’s prayer, you read the verse of the day on Biblegateway.com, you open your Bible to your bookmark. With your Bible open, you pray and ask Jesus to guide your reading and your prayer time. You spend a few minutes uncluttering your mind, so you are in-tune with God. You do your Bible study, and then you get on your knees and pray. You know some of the things you’ll pray about, but you’ve also heard from the Lord through your Bible study. You conclude with a time of giving thanks and, perhaps, worship. That’s your ritual. That’s what you do every time. There’s no fumbling around.
So, that’s how coffee makes a good analogy for your consistent time with God. This is maintainable for your whole life. Now, take a sip of your coffee or tea or water and tell yourself, “I can do this with Jesus.” And, that’s good news.