Dark roast. Light roast. French Roast. Italian Roast. Columbian. Costa Rican. Cappuccino. Frappuccino. Latte. Macchiato. Espresso. Americano. French Vanilla. Hazelnut Mocha. Pumpkin Praline Salted Caramel Gingerbread?
The options, especially over the past few years, have become endless – leaving many casual coffee drinkers staring blankly at menus and aisles full of varieties, flavors, and brands. “Umm.. I’ll just have the ‘regular’ – whatever ‘regular’ is? Or actually, never mind – just make that a hot chocolate.”
And coffee isn’t the only thing we are overwhelmed with choices about.
Spend just a few minutes on social media and you’ll be exposed to a full menu of causes. They’re (almost) all really good things, but some days I feel like if I hear about another “day” for this or “month” for this or “color” for this or “hashtag” for this, I’m gonna lose my mind!
Social media has given us an incredible upgrade in our ability to raise awareness for a cause. Never before have we been able to so easily broadcast to such a large audience the needs of a person or group of people!
The problem is that every cause also has this same ability and the result is that many of us have gone numb. So many causes are brought to our awareness that we no longer actually see any of them. In our heads they all combine into a giant menu of need that we avoid looking at because we know we can’t really do anything to help.
When I first started drinking “real” coffee (as opposed to the stuff that comes from those automatic convenience store machines), I remember standing in the grocery store thinking, “Where am I even supposed to start? How do I know what I’ll like?”
But if you ask me what I’m going to have when I get up tomorrow morning, it’s a no-brainer! Three tablespoons of extra dark roast finely-ground coffee (preferably Haitian!), brewed for exactly five minutes in 17 ounces of water in a french press, topped off with soy creamer and two sugars.
I’ve found my perfect brew.
Early in His time of ministry on earth, Jesus proclaimed His purpose: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18). Though the heart of this “good news” was ultimately the message of salvation through His death and resurrection, Jesus also came to show us a living example of God’s heart of compassion for the hurting.
And now that we have His Spirit within us, He has not only gifted us with abilities to serve one another in the church, but He’s also stirring our hearts to become more like His – and then directing that compassion in a specific direction toward a person or group of people who are suffering.
God has brewed each one of us with a different but perfect combination of ingredients. From the deep genetic roots of your personality to every circumstance that has ground you up and refined you. From your unique tastes and preferences to what makes you boil over in anger – you’ve been prepared for such a cause as this.
Late one night in the spring of 1996, as I was finishing up my last few weeks of high school, I sat in a pile of tears at my family’s dining room table. God had revealed to me that night how selfishly I was living and that His plan for me was so much greater than my own life. This is the verse He used:
“If you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness”
I knew that I wanted to do something – I wanted to be poured out. But for who? Well, teenagers, of course – I was headed to college for youth ministry. But I knew that wasn’t all.
I began sponsoring my first Compassion child in 1997. The sacrifice seemed so small and yet the joy and peace that filled my heart was so great – how could I say no to more?
Over the next few years I was able to begin sponsoring several more girls and now, as a family, we’ve continued to support children in need in our country and around the world. Last year, we even added our first sponsored boy, as our church helped build a home for children in India!
I certainly don’t have it all figured out – I know there’s so much more I could be doing, but I’m learning that this is my brew.
And now, when that “giving” time of year approaches, instead of being overwhelmed by the options and feeling guilty for what I can’t do, I stick to my brew. Each year at this time, we go shopping as a family and fill “Hope Packs” with supplies for children going into foster care – it’s a no-brainer!
So, on this #givingtuesday, what’s your brew? How has God uniquely combined your personality with your experiences and heart-tugs to stir up a deep, rich compassion for those who are hurting?
Instead of staring blankly at the menu or just ordering the hot chocolate – instead of living in defeat that you can’t make a difference or feeling guilty and just giving a little here and a little there, ask God to give your compassion direction – and then pour it out!