Regular or Decaf?

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when
the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,
for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.— John 4:22-24

Ah, the coffee bean, one of God’s most amazing creations. Who can resist the nutty, earthy, comforting aroma of roasted coffee beans? Grind them, add hot water, and a soothing, steamy scent fills the air signaling a brand new day.

Do you know that coffee beans were God’s little secret until goats discovered them way back in the Ninth Century? At least, that’s what one legend tells us. A goatherd named Kaldi noticed his herd acting strangely. The goats were munching large, cherry-red berries from a stand of shrubs and prancing around with merry euphoria. Baffled by the goats’ bizarre behavior, Kaldi plucked a few of the berries himself and tasted them. Of course, he experienced a caffeine buzz similar to the goats’. Kaldi was excited to share his secret, and he told a monk at a local monastery. The monk used the berries to brew a drink, hoping that it would help him to stay awake longer to pray. Voila, coffee was born! Before long, the whole world was drinking “bean broth” and experimenting with new ways to brew it.


© National Geographic


Thank God for coffee. I can’t imagine living without it. For a good, long while, plain old ordinary coffee, brewed black and strong, was my passion. Then I discovered flavored coffees. I was very happy with my hazelnut, vanilla, and caramel coffees until my passion progressed to lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas. That’s where I stand today. Give me a Black Forest Mocha from Wilson’s Coffee and Tea, and I’m in the equivalent of Heaven. Yes, I’ve become a coffee snob.

Recently, I took my love of coffee to a new level. I bought a French press coffee pot that brews coffee somewhat the way professional coffee tasters (cuppers) brew theirs. Coarsely ground coffee goes directly into the pot. Boiling water is poured over it. Then it steeps for about four minutes. Finally, a circular screen is pressed down trapping the grounds at the bottom of the pot. The result is a wonderful, strong, aromatic cup of coffee. Add a little flavored syrup and some frothed milk, and the cappuccinos I make at home rival a barista’s. I stop there. Unlike professional cuppers, I do not slurp the coffee forcefully while inhaling, nor do I perform fake chewing and swallowing to get a better idea of the coffee’s aftertaste. I do, however, appreciate the Coffee Tasters’ Flavor Wheel, which includes some great words for describing the distinct flavors of coffee.

One of my most enjoyable summer activities is to take a cup of iced coffee to the beach and write there. Instead of making iced coffee at home, I buy it at a nearby fast food restaurant. I always get the biggest size, because I want it to last as long as the battery in my laptop.

So it was, one June morning, that I headed for the beach with the computer and a huge cup of iced coffee. Eager to leave the drive-thru and get to my writing, I’d hastily shoved the plastic cup into the cup holder between the front seats. As I drove to the beach, the coffee smelled even more wonderful than usual. I could hardly wait to taste it. I held off, though, saving that first sip for the moment I opened up my laptop and pressed the “on” button. I hurried to the beach and pulled into my favorite parking spot, away from all human activity but still overlooking the sandy beach and the water. I parked the car, rolled down the windows, flipped open the laptop, and pressed the “on” button. Then I reached for my cup of coffee and was horrified to find that it was empty! There was nothing left but ice. Until then, everything had been going so well. I hadn’t a care in the world, and I certainly hadn’t noticed that the cup was leaking. By the time I’d discovered it, my eagerly anticipated iced coffee had trickled out, filled the cup holder, and soaked the passenger seat. Reluctantly, I shut the laptop and rushed home to clean up the mess.


As I got busy with the wet-dry vac, I complained silently about my situation. I had planned a pleasant morning filled with writing and coffee, and there I was in my garage scrubbing the car seat. The word “worship” came into my mind. Worship! I’m busy God. I want to get back to the beach and enjoy myself. Worship? Can’t you see that I have a mess here to clean up?

“How many times have I cleaned up your messes?” God said. “And I never complained. Worship.”

When things are going wrong, when we’re struggling or in a crisis, we readily worship God. We sing praises and tell Him how great He is and wait for Him to act in our favor. It’s when things are going well that we often forget to worship. We praise God and thank Him in church on Sunday, and the rest of the week we go about our ways, too eager to enjoy ourselves than to notice that our praises have trickled away, just like my delicious coffee had leaked out of its cup.

God humbled me on that morning. I’m still passionate about coffee, but now I try to remember to be even more passionate about Him. In Psalm 34:1, David writes, “I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak His praises.” I think of that verse whenever I notice my love for coffee, writing, or any other pastime getting in the way of my gratitude. With just an ordinary cup of coffee, God had given me a glimpse into my heart and shown me room for improvement.


Dear God, Don’t ever allow me to forget that you desire my worship and praise, every day, all day long.

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