My morning ritual is to read the newspaper and drink coffee.  (In this computer and iPhone age, where news is gotten from the internet, there are still some of us who do that religiously.)Those are the first things I do every morning without exception and without fail.

If I don’t have my coffee then I turn into something that is less than human.  I am mean and irritable until I have had my coffee.  Sheri used to say, “How could I tell? How is that different from any other day?”

I have a friend who says that he doesn’t believe in God until he has had his coffee.

Anyway, a minor crisis occurred on a recent Saturday and, of course, it had to do with coffee or the lack thereof. Unbeknownst to me I had run out of k cups for my Keurig coffee maker.  Fortunately, it was a Saturday and I was able to make it to Starbucks before chewing anyone’s head off.

All of this leads me to confess how much I love my creature comforts—like coffee and a newspaper (as well as a comfortable bed, pillow, air conditioning, etc.).  I’m spoiled by my lifestyle.  I know it and readily confess it.

I actually disagree with the Apostle Paul. He says in 1 Thessalonians 6: 8, “And if we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” Has he ever heard of air conditioning, a flat screen TV, and a round of golf? I’m sorry Paul, but I don’t know anyone who is content with food and clothes.

For much of my adult life I have taken mission trips to far away places, where they don’t have newspapers, coffee, comfortable, beds, pillows and air conditioning.  I have been to places like Central America and Africa.  I spent a week in a mud hut in Africa and boy was I miserable.  I didn’t have my coffee.  There is nothing like an ornery, irritable missionary.  My idea of a good mission trip is to stay at a Holiday Inn Express next door to a Cracker Barrel.

Not only did the people in Africa not have coffee, they didn’t have water—at least not clean, drinking water.  They drank water from the lake where the cows washed. I will never forget how kind these people were and yet how desperately poor they were.  What we take for granted—water, newspaper and coffee—they didn’t have.  And so I may be a sorry, ornery, irritable missionary, but I am a grateful one.  Because of my missions experiences, I never take water for granted.  When I drink a bottled water, I think of them.

I do grow weary of hearing Americans complain about this or that.  Those who do complain need to get out more and experience this world a bit.  I am grateful for clean water, food, shelter and yes, coffee and a newspaper.  And I believe that, as Christians, our highest motivation for serving God should be gratitude—not only for the basic necessities of life, but for friends, family, church and most of all, a meaningful relationship with God through Christ.
Next time you get the urge to complain, meet me at Starbucks and let’s talk.

~Pastor Steve

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