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Man Does Not Live On Coffee Alone

Brooke Cooney

Man Does Not Live On Coffee Alone

The morning started out like most.  The alarm signaled the start to another day and, of course, I hit the snooze.  As the second reminder sounded, I obliged and turned the alarm off. Feet to the floor, my hand turned the worn knob, and an exhilarating smell greeted me like a welcome guest.

Ah, coffee.

This particular day brought the flavor-rich coffee to the desired boldness with the absolute perfect portion of added hazelnut creamer. Finishing off the last sip with a reading of multiple Psalms from my daily Bible reading plan – the one that I seem to always be behind on – I managed to complete my morning breakfast and Bible ritual before the kids awoke. Success!

I poured another cup, threw on my gym clothes, brushed my teeth and headed out the door to my local women’s gym. With three children and one car, my husband and I have set days to work out. I look forward to my turn each time.

Skip ahead an hour and some travel time and my key found its way once again to the lock. The door opened to my boys, “You’re home mama!” I faintly heard my daughter tell her Daddy, “Tell mom I am not here,” just before she dashed under the dining room table.  Playing along, I found my daughter, greeted the boys, and wished my husband a good morning.

Birds chirped in trees and all was well…for one fleeting moment.

Minutes later, intervention of the disciplinary kind for two, followed by all three children, and the remains of my morning coffee cup were poured down the kitchen drain. The diminished contents provided the perfect parallel to my patience with me and my offspring.

I refilled my favorite owl mug with the slightly cooled coffee. My mind murmured, “Some days there isn’t enough coffee in the world to make me the kind of mom, wife, nor woman I want to be. Neither are there caffeine levels adequate to take all my cares away.” Some days? Ha! No day is there enough coffee for that checklist!

I love coffee. The smell, taste, and experience of a good cup in the right environment is one of the simple pleasures in my life. However, I fear my mind holds unrealistic expectations for what this drink can do for me.

For many of us, our morning cup of coffee is likened to the introduction of color television to a world filled with black and white. Morning offers new and exciting possibilities. Perhaps this one cup of black brew will get me on the path to the day of my dreams.  It is the comfort of a forgiving and understanding friend. One of the few areas in life we have complete and utter control over: “I’ll have a medium, hot coffee with cream, sugar, and a turbo shot to go please.”  

I wonder, do you, like me, pour a cup of coffee when:

  • The offspring are demanding?
  • The to-do list is long?
  • The deadlines are piling on?
  • In celebration with a nice slice of pie, coffee, a donut?
  • Mid-morning drowsiness?
  • Mid-afternoon drowsiness?
  • You need that boost to make it to the children’s bedtime, end of the workday, or another meeting?
  • You want the cozy and comforting environment for reading, work, shopping, or play?
  • A momentary escape or excuse to rest a while?

I am not here to debate the physical pros and cons to the beverage itself. Or even how many cups are most beneficial or detrimental. Rather, I want us to reflect on what we are pursuing with the next cup o’ joe. What soul-substance do we need to add along with, or in place of, cream and sugar?

Remember in the book of Matthew, Jesus had completed a forty day fast when Satan himself determined to tempt Jesus? With the first temptation Satan tells Jesus:

 “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:3-4)

Christians, Jesus makes it clear: man is not to live on the nutrients ingested into the body alone, but in addition to that which the soul consumes. We are called to feast on the Word.

Indeed, I should not be surprised that I cannot ingest enough caffeine to make me the woman I want to be. The results of caffeine are temporary, fleeting, and energizing at best. The fruit from the intake of the Scriptures are eternal, life-giving, soul-sustaining, and life-changing. How’s my grande, non-fat, extra-vanilla latte stacking up now?  

In addition to reaching for another cup (or carafe) of coffee we can add these scripture references the next time our stress, anxiety, and avoidant behaviors lead us in search of substance to fill our weary spirits:

  • I love the LORD because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Let my soul be at rest again, for the LORD has been good to me. Psalm 116:1-2,7
  • On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Psalms 62:7
  • Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:28-29
  • It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2
  • O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. Psalms 63:1
  • And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
  • Praise the LORD! How joyful are those who fear the LORD and delight in obeying his commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. Psalm 112:1-2

If our coffee isn’t working by means of a soul full of the Word of God, then the caffeine effects are minimal and fleeting at best. The next time you relish the decadent drink of flavorful coffee; why not add an eternity rich portion of Scripture? It’s true, man does not live on coffee alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. 

Brooke Cooney is a pastor's wife, mother of two, and foster-mom of one. To capture the eternal in the everyday, she blogs about family, faith, and lessons along the journey at ThisTemporaryHome.com.

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