Caffeine…like money…in and of itself is not a problem. But deprive someone long enough…and look out!
Have you ever been in the right place at the right time to see the caffeine-deprived behaving badly? I have, many times! (Perhaps that’s a reflection of how often I’m visiting Starbucks…) Anyway, today I pulled into the parking lot ready for my Decaf Grande Misto. I was meandering along looking for a parking place, when all of a sudden I catch a glimpse of someone in my rear view riding my bumper. He was impatient and looked as if he was seriously considering passing me in the parking lot! Well, this startled me a little, so I hurried into a spot to get out of his way, and of course, we both got out of our cars at the same time.
Here was a young, successful, well-groomed, well-dressed man who’s manners didn’t match the package. I made eye contact and let him walk in front of me (he was obviously in a hurry). He did hold the door open for me in a very sheepish manner, to which I responded with a smile, “Why, thank you.” (What I should have said was “No, go ahead you obviously need this more than I do.” BUT I didn’t.) He proceeded to get in line in front of me. I just smiled thinking the whole time how embarrassed this man must be; to think that a cup of coffee would be more important than good manners.
Maybe it’s the mother in me, or a deep streak of naivete, but I was troubled by his behavior. I suppose it wasn’t just the coffee that drove him; it was the selfishness that sometimes drives all of us. As Solomon once said, “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment”(Proverbs 18:1 NIV). When we have our “sights” set on something, it is hard to remember good manners, good judgment, or even our own good intentions. We may get so caught up in the pursuit that we discount our behavior along the way.
I think this is the mindset Paul was talking about in I Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is a root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have been led astray and have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many acute [mental] pangs” (AMP). Money isn’t the evil…the LOVE of it is—the selfish pursuit and unreasonable desire that elevates our “craving” above all else. I think this truth applies to any self-led desire: money, food, possessions, control, glory and recognition, even caffeine. Now, I say that a little tongue in cheek, but the principle is sound. When we place a higher importance on “getting” any certain thing than walking with conviction and integrity, we risk more than just not getting our desires. We risk hurting our reputation, hindering our ability to influence, and having to answer for our bad behavior to God and others.
Philippians 2:3-4 instructs us, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others”(NKJV). In our pursuit of a good life, a good future, and a good cup of coffee, we must remember that those we meet along the way are much more important than the goal which we are pursuing. Each person, obstacle, or situation may very well be a test God has placed in your path. His purpose: To determine your reward. The testing process may reveal the answers to the important questions:
Are you ready to handle the increase?
Is your attitude right?
Are you willing to live without it if need be?
Are you content with where you are in your pursuit of where you are going?