Can we learn anything from Jesus and coffee? After all, he didn’t even drink it!
This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!
FYI Jesus and Coffee Aren’t Mentioned in the Bible
“Let’s stop by Tim Hortons on the way to the zoo this morning,” my auntie said. “Canadians love their Tim Hortons.”
“Sure,” I answered. “I could use a good cup of coffee.”
“What do you think?” my auntie asked anxiously after I took my first sip.
“Ahh, very good,” I lied. The coffee tasted bland, maybe a step above gas station coffee, but I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. I bit into one of their chocolate-filled croissants. “And these are amazing!”
Decades have passed, and my coffee tastes have matured. I’ve gone from drinking caffeinated coffee to decaf. Sipping regular old joe to crafting my own lattes and Americanos at home. I’ve stopped at dozens of Tim Hortons while traveling through Canada, and my initial assessment hasn’t changed. The pastries (both in price and taste) surpass anything Starbucks has ever created. The coffee? Meh.
But this post isn’t about Tim Hortons vs. Starbucks, it’s about Jesus and coffee. No one had discovered coffee in Jesus’ time, so you won’t find it in the Bible. But Jesus does mention another part of daily life—salt.
Before refrigeration, salt served as a preservative as well as a flavor enhancer. In hot desert climates, people needed salt to survive. Impure salt could lose its flavor (have its chemistry changed) during humid conditions. But everyone needed salt, and everyone used it—to flavor, to fertilize, and to preserve.
Now we understand how salt can have both beneficial and destructive properties. People with high blood pressure should avoid it. The strength of the metaphor has faded as salt prices decreased and the purity of the product increased.
Which Makes Me Think About Coffee
If we want to use a modern metaphor, consider Jesus and coffee. What if Jesus had told us to be the coffee of the world? Coffee, like salt, has many different permutations. People depend on coffee—whether in the ritual of preparing and drinking it or the jolt of energy it provides.
Coffee has health benefits, as well as health warnings. The cultivation of coffee can ruin rainforests. It can cost an exorbitant amount (Black Ivory coffee) or cost a lot AND go through an animal’s digestive system before roasting (Kopi luwak coffee).
Some people add all sorts of things to their coffee—creamers, sweeteners, chocolate, or cayenne. Others like it black. Some people hate coffee, and others love it from their first sip. Weak coffee, gas station coffee, Starbucks lattes, Tim Hortons coffee, bitter coffee, espresso, Americanos, percolated, poured over, French pressed, or caffeinated or decaffeinated—coffee comes in myriad ways. Some we like, some we hate.
Christians come in myriad ways, too. Sweet, bitter, faithful, occasional, consistent, inconsistent, cheap, overpriced, underappreciated, on pedestals, on the narrow path, and on the broad path. Non-Christians either love us or hate us. They see our impurities, our imperfections, our inconsistencies, and despise us because we claim one way and act another.
But what if courageous Christians concentrated on giving love and energy to the world instead of focusing on personal preferences and claiming a corner on truth?
I think maybe Jesus would sit back and smile. And take a sip of coffee (decaf, skinny latte, of course).