Coffee is the Best Reward?

I was recently travelling and stayed in a hotel.  My typical routine in a hotel is to get up early, get a cup of coffee, and have my time of morning prayer.  On this, my most recent hotel stay, the paper cup had a message printed on its side.  “Coffee is the Best Reward.”

To say it was a bit of a collision between priorities is an understatement.  “Coffee is the Best Reward” versus “Your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.” (Luke 6:35)

Please do not get me wrong.  I love coffee, and I do think it is a wonderful gift from God.  It is said that Benjamin Franklin commented, “Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy” (actually he did not say that – he made a similar but slightly different statement about wine).  Personally, I think that sentiment is better attributed to coffee.  Coffee is one of my favourite things.  While I was deployed to Iraq gift boxes containing coffee were some of my most greatly appreciated.  If somebody suggests that we go and do something my first suggestion is to go for a coffee.  So as I critique my coffee cup message, it is a critique I do not take lightly.

“Coffee is the Best Reward” – Really?  Of all things on the face of the Earth – coffee is the best reward?  I am sorry, but I do not think so.  Raising successful children, being involved in positive charities, bringing about changes in society that improve the condition of humanity, coaching little kids in sports and helping them understand the importance of effort and sportsmanship regardless of whether they win or lose, are all examples – from and endless list – of things that are greater rewards in this world than a cup of coffee.

Then there is the reality that the claim that “Coffee is the best Reward” fails to consider the rewards bestowed by God.  Bible assurances such as: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23–24) tell us that there is so much more to life than a cup of coffee.

I am afraid the problem comes from setting our aim too low.  It seems that we only demand the best and highest standards from our computers and smartphones forcing them to be ever upgrading.  Everything else, daily conduct (extremely crass these days), politicians (just look at who we had to pick from this past election), and the news that reports on them (we prefer the fake over the real, and sadly the real becomes fake in desperately trying to regain viewers), as just a few example, all reveal how low we are willing to settle.  Not only are we willing to settle – we settle for such meager of offerings that “Coffee is the Best Reward” rings true in our ears.

Set your sights higher – aim for more – do more – trust God more – gain bigger and better rewards.  Because a cup of hotel coffee is simply not good enough – let alone “best.”

Pax et Bonum,


the Rev’d Dr SG Rindahl

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