You see, for the last few months—at least four of them passing by— our ten-year-old-or-older-coffee maker has not performed to the standard I have known it to be capable of. The discovery of water under the machine one day led me to suspect something was amiss. Then production began to fall short when ten cups of water percolated only six cups of coffee. We also began to notice the taste was extreme, as in extremely bitter. Oh my! Some mornings my face puckered, my nose crinkled and my eyes watered from the bitterness found in single cup of coffee. We also noted the coffee wasn’t as hot as it should be. Yet, we continued to use it every day. A pattern was created as we began to hope for a change in the coffee and yet failed to pursue change…until now, when the old was replaced by the new.
The next morning, I found my way to our little coffee nook and poured a hot, fresh cup of coffee. It wasn’t bitter, it wasn’t hard to get down, it was simply refreshing and I wondered why we had waited so long to make the change. Instead, we complained about it, we discussed what we saw happening, we wondered why it was behaving as it was. We talked about the bitter taste and how unpleasant it was to drink. Every day there was another tell-tail sign a change was in order and yet, we’d pour water into the same maker hoping this pot of coffee would be better than the last. I can’t believe we talked about the need for a new one - for months! - before finally getting one.
Early one morning as I sat with my delicious, fresh cup of steamy hot coffee, I poured out thanks to the Lord for savory goodness found in a new coffee maker. In the quiet of the morning, as I glanced at my cup, I drew in a deep breath and agreed with the knowing deep in my spirit. I knew this wasn’t my first dance with procrastination followed by an invitation to the party of regret. I’ve put off plenty and then wondered why I waited so long once I began to enjoy the benefit I received by taking action. Maybe you can relate? Haven’t we all put off going to the doctor’s and then wondered why we waited so long after the first dose of medicine? I’ve put off seeking answers, which might have prevented loss; advice, which may have prevented heartbreak and admissions which, made earlier, could have prevented the long walk of regret. Far too many times I’ve heard myself say, “Why did I wait so long?”
I would never have imagined that, within the box of a new coffee maker, God could unpack valuable life lessons for me; such as less talking and quicker action. How often do we complain about the unpleasant flavor of our circumstances, yet refuse His offer to taste and see that He is Good (Psalm 34:8)? This might be the moment we set aside our bitter cup and reach for one that holds a fresh change of heart.
I also recognize my grumbling about something, or someone, failing to perform to the standard I think they should, does neither of us any good. Instead it should send me seeking the cause. How can we encourage others, and our own selves, to live up to the standard God desires? Pastor Bob Yandian said, “God would rather have you reach for Heaven and miss than reach for the ceiling and hit every time.” This might be the moment we set aside the cup of apathy and pick up the cup holding our God-given abilities. We might also need to set down the cup of criticism and pour ourselves a new cup of compassion.
While holding onto Jesus words, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14 NKJV), I’ve been guilty of expecting God to answer my prayers for change by plopping it on the counter. I’ve prayed expecting change to appear overnight and according to my will; when I want, where I want, how I want and to whom I want. It’s at this moment the Lord offers me the cup which holds this verse, “This is the [remarkable degree of] confidence which we [as believers are entitled to] have before Him: that if we ask anything according to His will, [that is, consistent with His plan and purpose] He hears us” (1 John 5:14 AMP). Oh, that’s right! His will before mine. His plans over mine. His purpose is far greater than mine. My desire for change must be consistent with His plan and purpose. Peter gave us good advice when he said, “prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control” (1 Peter 1:13). Change takes action but making the right change takes self-control.
We can talk about our desire for change, our hope for change. We can even pray for change. But if we continue to drink from the same pot and never pursue God’s answers or advice, change will evade us. I look back and wonder why we waited so long to make the changes necessary for a great cup of coffee. We suffered needlessly; change was always within reach.
Maybe you’ve been longing for change. I’d like to encourage you to seek the Lord for the change you need. Far too often we believe the change we are looking for happens when God changes everyone but us. I’ve discovered this belief to be a lie. The best change happens when we offer ourselves as clay in the Potter’s hand. Prepare your mind for action! Exercise self-control and Allow Him to Bend and Change you. This might help unpack a fresh cup of goodness in those around you.