Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another thought inspired by coffee

I have become, in recent years, a coffee drinker.  How did I get started on this habit?  Well, it was once an occasional indulgence, especially when around my father in the evenings.  He tended to make some nice flavored coffees after dinner at Christmas or Thanksgiving. 

Then, about the time I started a 3-year stint as a bi-vocational pastor.  This was while we lived south of Memphis, and the church was in Northeast Arkansas.  This required an early start and a long drive.  Coincidentally, the local Exxon convenience store chain was running an "all-coffee half-price" special.  So, a 20 ounce cup of coffee was running about $0.80, whilst a 20 ounce Mountain Dew was $1.19.  And I think Dew is worse for you than coffee.  So, I began to drink a 20-ounce Bengal Traders every Sunday morning, then Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.  Then when it got cold, many work mornings.  I was particularly partial to the French Vanilla with one of those little cups of Southern Butter Pecan creamer.

Then we moved to Monticello, and there's no Bengal Traders coffee to be had here.  I began to buy Millstone from Wal-Mart, and then, after receiving a bag of Cameron's Coffee from a friend, I started ordering directly from them.  Then I switched over to Green Mountain Coffee, and especially enjoy their single-origin coffees, like the Los Nacientes Special Reserve Coffee or the Sumatran Reserve.

Why all this fuss about coffee?  And isn't all that fancy stuff more expensive than Folgers or Maxwell House?  It is indeed that, but it's worth it. 

However, to cover the increased cost, I drink much less coffee than a lot of the Folgers drinkers do.  Generally I make enough coffee to fill one travel cup per day, except for Sundays, when I make a bit extra.  It's worth it, to me, because the quality of the coffee is that much better and the taste is better.  I'd rather have a well done small pot of coffee than a mediocre large pot.

Which led me to this thought: do we often think that way in our lives or our churches?  How much of what we do dilutes our resources and quality?  For example, I have a set budget for coffee.  I can spend it on a lot of Folgers or a little bit of whole bean fresh roasted coffee.  I choose the quality over the quantity.

In our family lives, are we, perhaps, so insanely busy because we've chosen a quantity of activity over a quality?  That rather than choose 1 or 2 things to do, and do them well, we instead take on nearly anything that comes our way.  Not that all that we do or that I hear from people that their time goes to do is bad, much of it is good.  Yet how much of the quality of involvement goes away because of dilution? 

Often, our churches go the same route.  Rather than concentrate our efforts and make sure our resources go to doing a few things well, we resist and insist on doing lots of things, sometimes resulting in doing many of them badly.  Should we not reconsider?

And as we reconsider, keep in mind our core purpose: Worship God with all we and tell others about Jesus!!  We as churches do not exist to compete with world groups or even community organizations, but rather to be churches and do what only churches can do.  That's where our efforts should be.

So, in what ways are we sacrifice quality for quantity?  How can we change?  Because, eventually, we'll have to.



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