I sat in the pew during the testimony time of our Wednesday night service. Discouragement and discontent pooled at my feet. One by one, members of my church family gave testimonies of healing and victory. It had apparently been an amazing week of God’s working. But each new revelation of God’s power, instead of encouraging me, sent me farther and farther into my puddle of pity.
I grumbled in my soul. Why isn’t God meeting MY need?! Are my needs not important, too? And it’s not just for me. It’s for my students. It’s for my ministry! Shouldn’t that get some sort of priority??
(I need choir risers. The cheapest I’ve seen them is $1500. Since I can’t just snap my fingers and make them appear, I’ve been trying to raise the funds, but every thing I try seems to be “cut off at the pass.” It’s rather frustrating, and more than a little discouraging. Ergo…the grumbling.)
I would love to be able to report that I immediately repented of my sin of discontent and doubt, but that didn’t happen at all. I wasted the rest of the service pouting and whining to God about my problem.
Finally, I offered Him an ultimatum (because that always works out so well): OK, God. I know you are capable of providing this – all in your own good time. But I’m really, really discouraged right now. Couldn’t you just do something to help out my faith? It could be something little. …anything at all??
Apparently, God didn’t feel like answering.
Two days later, I was sitting in the drive-thru at my favorite/local Starbucks – pretty much my home away from home. It seemed to be taking an inordinate amount of time. Finally, it was my turn to approach the window, and the sweet little barista handed me my order with a smile, an apology for the wait, and a voucher for a free coffee…which struck me as ironic and rather humorous since the coffee I had been waiting for was already free. I reflected on the fact that I had been getting a lot of free coffees lately…and then God hit me in the face with a ton of spiritual bricks…
I love Starbucks. I love my Starbucks. My students know this, and invariably I receive quite a large number of Starbucks gift cards for Christmas. Last Christmas was a record year. My kids gave me so many Starbucks cards that I figured I would be caffeinated for months. However, we were having a troubled year. There were miffed attitudes and hurt feelings and misunderstandings that were beginning to build a wall between students. I was praying for wisdom and direction.
Take your students to Starbucks.
Spend time with them. Outside of school. Let them know you care about them.
But. That costs money. You know I’m poor.
Use your gift cards.
But those are mine.
What’s more important? Free coffee? or reaching your students?
I don’t mean to say that God and I had that exact conversation, but it was something alongthose lines, and the moral of the story is that I ended up taking my students to Starbucks and spending my gift cards on them instead of on myself. (It worked, by the way. Walls came down. Relationships were repaired. Obstacles were overcome. …but that’s another story.) I knew I was doing the right thing, but I pouted about losing my free coffee – apparently, I need to work on that “cheerful giving” thing…
As I left the drive-thru and pulled out onto the main road, I began to think back. How many vouchers and free and complimentary coffees had I gotten in the past few months? Too many to remember. A dozen at least, and here was one more. I felt about as tall as a squashed gnat as the answer was gently whispered in my heart:
Oh ye of little faith…I’ve been paying you back for that coffee, and you didn’t even notice. Don’t you think I’ve got a handle on your other needs too? Why, oh why, do you doubt?
So…I guess I’ll get those choir risers after all…