Wednesday, April 3, 2013

God: Good to the Last Drop

If you stray to the right or the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you: “This is the way; walk in it.”                                                                                                              Isaiah 30:21

Isn’t this what we crave from God if we are seeking to live a faithful life? I know people who have heard God speak and I am grateful for the occasions when I have heard a direction from God. If I am to hear such a word from God, a word that gives direction to my path, I cannot cram my life full of my own agenda. God’s word comes to me as a gift I receive by slowing down, doing one thing at a time and living with full attention devoted the task at hand.

One of the unexpected fruits of accepting the Lenten challenge to drink only water as our beverage has been the appreciation I now have for a cup of coffee. Prior to Lent, drinking coffee was often a mindless exercise, a habitual practice that failed to get much of my attention. Sure, I like smelling the freshly ground beans or the freshly brewed coffee. On a cold morning, I looked forward to a cup of hot coffee upon returning from my morning walk. But when I drank it, I usually was also doing something else and the coffee was not the center of my attention.

Slowing down to appreciate my coffee actually helps me pay attention to God. Chris Seay, in the book A Place at the Table, calls what we chose to give up for Lent “extravagances.” To think of coffee as an extravagance has given me a new appreciation for it. He challenges us to remember that all we are given to eat and drink is a gift, a miracle from the hand of God.

To drink a cup of coffee with attention and appreciation is a sacred act of worship and this discipline of doing one thing at a time heightens my ability to hear a word from God. Being fully present in the present moment allows me to see things I would otherwise miss, and prepares my mind and heart to be fertile soil for the word that God wants to plant there. Both literally and figuratively, I can taste and see that the Lord is good!

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