Just a Cup of Coffee, Please!

"Just a Cup of Coffee, Please!"
From the Heart of Dr. Rexella Van Impe

The news media often calls attention to the large number of homeless and hungry people in our nation's big cities. The scenes of people sleeping on benches, huddling in cardboard boxes, or looking through garbage cans for food are pitiful and troubling. While many of these individuals have ended up on the street through misfortunes beyond their control, even sadder are the cases that are there largely by choice.

As I prayed and thought about this problem, it occurred to me that while not homeless and destitute, most of us, in a spiritual sense, have gotten by with just a cup of coffee and a morsel of bread when we could have been feasting on God's plentiful banquet of spiritual manna. As the Apostle James observes, Ye have not, because ye ask not (James 4:2).

My husband, Jack, and I have a favorite little "home cookin'" cafe we often visit when it's just the two of us. It's not fancy at all, but it's a cozy, comfortable place where we can relax-and the food is good. We go there often enough that we know most of the waitresses and many of the regular customers.

For weeks we noticed that a certain man was almost always in the cafe, sitting at the counter. He looked as if he might be homeless, usually dressed in worn, slightly shabby clothes which probably hadn't been laundered in weeks. He was always alone-never did we see him with a friend or ever having a conversation with others at the counter. His countenance was drawn and sad, and one could sense that he had known much sorrow in his lifetime. The waitresses told us he ate only once a day-the rest of the time he just drank coffee..."buy one cup and the refills are free."

Jack and I felt terribly sorry for this man. One night as we were having a light dinner, we looked over at him sitting alone at the counter, nursing his coffee cup, and it made us sad. My hubby called a waitress over and said, "Give that man the best dinner in the house and bring me the bill. Let him pick out anything on the menu and tell him a friend has picked up the tab."

"No, Dr. Van Impe, you don't need to do that," said the waitress.

"But I want to," he answered. "He looks like he needs a good meal and I'd just like to help him a little."
"You don't understand," she said. "That is Mr. _____" (and she named a very well-known and wealthy local family). "His father owned much of the land that is now the City of Troy-he's the heir to millions!"
"But he looks so underprivileged!" I exclaimed.

"Yes, I know," said the waitress, "but he's really a multimillionaire. He lives like a pauper by choice."

I haven't seen that poor, sad man lately, but recently I've been thinking about his situation. Could it be that many Christians are living like spiritual paupers when they could be enjoying God's manifest blessings every day of their lives? Are they settling for just a cup of coffee when they could be feasting at the Lord's banquet table?

As we face the future, are we anxious about what lies ahead? Will it be a time of happiness and blessing-or endless loneliness and deprivation?
Change your wardrobe

The old man in the cafe was dressed in worn, shabby clothes. Yet he could have been wearing the finest suit from the best tailor in town.

What are you wearing? The Prophet Isaiah said, I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels (Isaiah 61:10).

Clothe yourself in the wardrobe God has provided for you. Get dressed in His righteousness and see what a change His garments will make in your whole outlook on life. You'll discover a new awareness of God as your Sustainer and Protector. You'll stand taller and walk in trust and confidence.

So resolve to stop dressing like the world and get clothed in His righteousness.

Put sadness aside

The old man in the cafe looked so sad, as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. Yes, from a worldly perspective, he had everything. He was from a prominent family, with every possible financial advantage at his disposal. If money could buy happiness, he could have had it all.

Christianity is the most joyful of all the world's religions. Yet we often manage to make it appear the most sad and mournful by our actions and our countenance. Mark Twain once had his famous character, Huck Finn, wondering if the mule in the barn had "got religion" because of its long face!

The psalmist exults, Thou hast put gladness in my heart. For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness (Psalm 4:7; 107:9).

I think we sometimes develop a bad habit of letting our faces reflect the care and confusion of the world around us instead of the joy and peace of the Lord welling up within us.

If we have full access to God's goodness, gladness, and blessedness, shouldn't our faces show it?

As Christians, our future is as bright as the promises of God. And the Word of God is filled with wonderful promises. Some of my favorites include Christ's promise: Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world (Matthew 28:20) and also God's assurance that as thy days, so shall thy strength be (Deuteronomy 33:25).

If we believe God, we have something to smile about.

Be a friend

In all the times we observed the old man in the café, Jack and I never saw him with a friend...or ever being friendly with those around him. While others had pleasant conversations and shared personal things with each other, the old man sat alone, without a friend. How sad.

But while true friendship is measured by more than "hellos" and conversations, some people have no friends because they will let no one get close to them.

As the writer of Proverbs observes, A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

One must be a friend to others to have friends who will share fellowship and companionship in return. And this is an important part of life. But even if earthly friends do fail in times of trouble, we can be secure in knowing that we can have a friend who will stick closer than a brother, in good times and bad.

We know we can count on Him because He has said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).

When we have such a Friend, why don't we rely on Him more? In the words of the grand old gospel song, "What a Friend We Have in Jesus,"
Oh, what peace we often forfeit.
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.

Eat heartily

I don't think I'll ever forget the old man in the cafe, scrimping by on one meal a day, when he could have had anything on the menu, anytime he wanted it. Yet he'd order "Just a cup of coffee, please" and ask for free refills. How tragic to see a multimillionaire going hungry.

But how much more tragic to have the riches of heaven at our disposal and go through life starving ourselves spiritually! Do you have a Bible? Of course, you do. Are you feasting daily on the abundant nourishment found there-or do you hurriedly pull out a single scripture card and glance at it before you dash out into the day?

Compare your biblical diet with Jeremiah's. He said, Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts (Jeremiah 15:16).

Don't settle for just a cup of coffee-eat heartily-even as the Apostle Peter admonished us to do in 1 Peter 2:2, stating: As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. The psalmist concurs, saying, O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him (Psalm 34:8).

I heard the story of a man whose dream was to go to America. For years he saved his money to buy passage on a ship. Finally he had just enough, with only a small amount left over.

He took part of the little money he had left and bought some bread and cheese he could take on board. By careful rationing, he thought there would be just enough to last through the voyage.

So he set sail, glad to finally be going to the "promised land." Other passengers were festive and happy, going into the ship's dining room to eat wonderful meals, and strolling about the decks, laughing and having refreshments together.

The man would go to his little cabin at mealtime and eat stale bread and hard cheese.

But he had miscalculated the length of the voyage, and a few days before the ship was to arrive in New York harbor, he ran out of food. He drank water and did without for a day or so. Then he got so hungry he didn't think he could last. So he scraped together all the money he had left-several coins-and went to a steward in the dining room.

"Excuse me, please," he said. "Is this enough money to buy just a little bit to eat? I've run out of food and I'm very hungry."

The steward said, "Sir, you do not need to pay extra to eat in the dining room. Your meals were paid for in the price of your ticket."

I urge you to begin living up to your privileges in God. Jesus Christ paid for them in the price of your passage to heaven!

Blessing, gladness, satisfaction, goodness, and all other spiritual pleasures are yours. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God (Psalm 146:5).

Jack Van Impe Ministries
Box 7004
Troy MI 48007

Robert Morris - Words - Are you Blessing your life or cursing your life?


Pastor Robert Morris - Words Life or Death - Ten Deadly Sins

Full sermon  here  

or go here:

or www.gatewaypeople.com/sermons

No comments: