Life is Like a Cup of Coffee
Rev. Toh Nee Lim | On 25, May 2016
Scripture Reading: Micah 6:8
‘He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’
A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups – porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite – telling them to help themselves to the coffee. When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: “If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups… And then you began eyeing each other’s cups. Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
This video illustrates the importance of making the best of life situations. Life success should not be measured by outward achievements (the car, the house, the job, clothing, food and drinks) but by inner achievements (what you have become). Your treatment of people, your kindness to them and your love of them, is the true testimony of your worth and the ultimate link to your happiness. Man like to chase but don’t even know what they are chasing. In the end, they failed to enjoy their life. Because they are too busy chasing the best and the better cup. They don’t even realize that the happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything”.
This little grandmother was surprised by her 7 year old grandson one morning. He had made her coffee. She drank what was the worst cup of coffee in her life. When she got to the bottom there were three of those little green army men in the cup. She said, “Honey, what are the army men doing in my coffee?” Her grandson said, “Grandma, it says on TV, ’The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup!’” Probably the grandson hoped that the 3 green army men would help his grandma go through the day. He wants the best for her grandma. Well, as Christian we need to have Jesus in our coffee (live).
As one living in this world we need to understand a few things:
1. Time is short
We live in a critical period and a specific period of time. We totally forget that Jesus is coming back again. Without my children, our house has become quiet. I don’t think Pastor Lily and I are lonely. But the house does get quiet. It has the peace and presence of God, but it is pretty quiet. Sometimes, I would be just in my study room. And Pastor Lily would be in another room doing her own stuff. I have to be honest, there are many times, I would go to her room and find her not around. Frequently it occurs in my mind that she has raptured and it puts fear in me. Because if she is raptured, it means that I am left behind. Then I would be frantic looking for her. When I found her in the kitchen, in the CR, or in the compound feeding the dog, peace of mind will come back to me. I just want to be honest. I know that Jesus is coming back and the next big thing that is going to take place in the world is the rapture. The time of His coming is upon us, so we must be sure that we are living right so that we are not caught off guard. If you are constantly concentrating on the cup (job, house, the car, food, and clothing) and not on the coffee (the life) you will miss the Lord’s coming. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:2. ‘For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.’ Too many of us are sleeping and paying no attention to what is going on in the world; too many are not watching; too many are not observing the signs of the time. Too many are complacent, lazily passing through life with little commitment to serving Christ. We have become so busy and obsessed with things that don’t matter that we have put our relationship with the Lord in second place. We need to pay attention to three following things:
a. Look at what is going on in the world.
b. Look at the moral condition of our society.
c. It’s not getting better; it’s getting worse and worse.
Going back to the experience I had with my wife concerning the rapture. I mean what a horrible thing it would be for me to wake up one morning and discover that I have missed it. That I had missed the glorious coming of the Lord. That I have missed all the warnings and missed the train to glory. That Jesus has come and gone and left me behind.
2. Act Accordingly
This famous quote is given by the former president of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan, ‘“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”
Firstly live simply. The way you live your life is your true sermon. The best sermons are lived not preached. Live simply. Be contented for what you have. Contentment is the root of true happiness and peace!
Jan was with her 2 best friends that visited her in Paris recently. Of course she had to bring them shopping. Their first stop as most Singaporeans do is Chanel bags or Lois Vuitton bags. One of her friends wanted to get a handbag for her mum. She told Jan in no uncertain way that she and her mum would share the handbag. While inside the Channel store, they saw this bag that cost 4000 Euros. She was excited. But she had only 2000 Euros cash on hand. In frantic behaviour, she and Jan will guard the bag in case it will be taken by other customer, while another will go to the ATM to cash out the 2000 Euros. After quite a while, the friend that went to the ATM came back that told them that her credit limit for all her credit cards disable her to draw out the 2000 euros. There are much discussion whether they can pay cash 2000 and 2000 credit card. But their pride were too high to inquire concerning this possibility from the salesman. Jan’s friend, the one that wants to buy the bag finally had to go to the ATM herself to cash out another 2000 Euros, Jan said it was a hilarious moment in that frantic desire to acquire the 4000 Euro handbag. It reminds Jan of the movie, ‘confessions of a shopaholic.’ By the way that handbag cost 210,000.00 pesos in Philippines money.
Recently the most powerful lady in Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi visited Singapore and gave a powerful address. She said, ‘I want to learn a lot from the standard that Singapore has been able to achieve, but I wonder what is the purpose of the workforce, what is the purpose of work, what is the purpose of material wealth. Is that the ultimate aim of human being? Is that all we want? I want to prod more into the successes of Singapore and but go beyond that. I think Singapore can learn from us; a more relax way of life, the warmer and closer family relationship. I think we have much to offer you. You come and find out.’ She is right. Singapore has been nothing but the cup and failed to enjoy the coffee (life).
We live in an increasingly materialistic society. We live also in a society which is increasingly characterized by worry because of materialism. Life is simple when we live simply. Even church people are also affected. Micah the prophet saw this problem. The prophet looked around him and saw, with great disappointment, that the temple life was becoming increasingly complicated. He looked and saw temple priests becoming wealthy. He looked and saw the ruling class commanding a larger and larger share of the wealth. When people saw our church, they would say that it is a beautiful church and I would reply it is a simply church. And it is really a simple church and I believe God make sure that it is that way; of course, against my will. That people that attends this church are simple people. I may not like it but God make sure that this sanctuary will not become increasingly complicated. That priests will have more than enough but not becoming wealthy as a result of church work.
To live simply is not poverty but contentment. Paul tells Timothy that ‘godliness with contentment is a great gain.’ “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6.25-33).
When we stop trying to place ourselves first, when we stop seeking the best of everything we are the most at peace, we are the happiest, and we are feeling the least stressed or anxious. We are called to stop focusing on our interests, on the cup, and choose instead focus on the coffee (life). The irony of God’s truth is, that when we learn to say no to our selfish desires (cup) then we begin to say yes to life, we focus on the coffee. Letting go of our need to have the expensive cup we choose not to seek things of extravagance. When we learn to live simply, when we say no to desire and not always want to have the best, we gain life. The simple truth is the more we give in to our desires the more we are controlled by them. They only create a desire to have more, a desire that is never satisfied. Conversely, when we hold our desires in check, when we learn to act with self-discipline we gain a freedom over our desires and thereby free in control. All because we focus on the coffee and rather than the cup. Stress in work and life is reduced.
Secondly love generously. Love generously is best demonstrated by giving generously. We must realize that we live simple so that others may simply live. If there is a person in this world that I can safely say he live simply but give generously is Warren Buffet. In the 2013 statistics, having accumulated an enormous wealth of $58.5 billion, Warren Buffett, undoubtedly falls under the category of being one of the richest billionaires in the world. Now how much is a billion dollar? If a billion kids made a human tower, they would stand up past the moon. If you sat down to count from one to one billion, you would be counting for 95 years. Warren is the largest shareholder, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. He has constantly been ranked among the wealthiest persons in the world. This “Wizard of Omaha”, has pledged to donate 99% of his net worth to charity, which is the highest charitable amount in the human history. Believe it or not, Warren Buffett has lived in the same five-bedroom Omaha, Neb., home since 1958, when he bought it for just $31,500. He avoids expensive toys and luxurious. He lived like regular people. Buffett doesn’t own a yacht or other stereotypical luxury items because, as he said, “Most toys are just a pain in the neck.” He pursues his passions relentlessly. For us Christian our passion is Christ. Finally he give back to others. Philanthropy is an art Buffett has no doubt mastered thanks to his significant net worth, and many people wouldn’t consider it an act of frugality. He said, ‘donating old clothes to Goodwill or canned goods to food drives can be a great way to give back to others while clearing your home of unnecessary items.’
A speaker at a Christian conference was at a restaurant and he relates, ‘I remember going to a large Christian conference a few years ago. On the first night, Jo and I ate in a local restaurant. As I waited for my credit cared to be processed, I continued my conversation with the waitress. In my reply to my question as to whether the famous conference would help business, she replied, ‘Yes but the tips are lousy. We always know who the Christians are because they don’t tip?’ And she continued, ‘They are often unappreciative.”
Sometimes truth is found in what seems to be opposite. For example, the more we give seems to mean the more we get (opposite). When we stop thinking of ourselves, when we stop trying to place ourselves first, when we stop seeking the best of everything we are the most at peace, we are the happiest and we are feeling the least stressed or anxious. Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life?’
I want you to recall and think of an occasion when you have been the recipient of generosity? How did you feel? Did it affect the way that you regarded the giver?
Thirdly, care deeply. The Bible said that people would become very selfish in the Last Days, committing all sorts of sins against their neighbours, not caring, lacking natural affection, being phony and hypocritical, quitters and liars, judging and condemning, hurting others, and yet having a form of religious devotion. 2nd Timothy 3:1-2, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy…”
A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment. The next week, the man realized that he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 AM for an early morning business flight to Chicago. Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (AND LOSE), he wrote on a piece of paper, “Please wake me at 5:00 AM.” The next morning the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and that he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn’t woken him when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed. The paper said, “It is 5:00 AM. Wake up”.
Life these days has become about people hurting people. One man wrote and said, “People equal pain.” I see a lot of people getting hurt—having their feelings hurt, being shunned away or gossiped about, being cheated financially (even out of their home), being hurt by a loved one or a spouse, a sudden divorce, problems at work, cruel words, et cetera. There are a thousand ways in which people hurt each other. This is heathendom. Recently Pastor Lily upon hearing a certain family in financial straits decides to intervene. She said, we have given so much, to the people in the island of Loguingot, Estancia, whom we don’t know and am I going to pretend not to hear anything concerning a brethren whom we know and is in need? God definitely would not be pleased.
The Bible teaches that we ought to care as God cares. Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Caring deeply is the hallmark quality, character trait, of being a Christian who is right with God.
Lastly, speak kindly. Kindness is a choice. It’s something you can choose to “put on” every day. Kindness is love in action. Kindness is something you do. It’s a practical expression of love. It’s visible and active, not just emotional. Now, why should we be kind? Two reasons: One we should be kind because God is kind to us. ‘Ephesians 2:8 says, ‘Because of His kindness you have been saved through trusting Christ.’ Two, we should be kind because we want others to be kind to us. Matthew 7:12 says, ‘Do to others what you would have them do to you.” Prov. 21:21, “Be kind and honest and you will love a long life; others will respect you and treat you fairly.” (GNB) A kind person is sensitive to others. He is aware of the needs of the people around him. Kindness always starts with noticing the needs and hurts of others. A kind person is supportive. One of the best ways to be supportive is by your speech. You can develop (support) or destroy a person with what you say to them! Kind people don’t embarrass others. Joseph is a good example of a man who spoke kind words. I truly respect Joseph. Actually I admire him and esteem him greatly. Genesis 50:19-21 says, ‘And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.’ His kind word cure a lot of relationship problems. Judging from the general temper of human nature, we would presume Joseph would now avenge himself on those who hated and injured him without cause. But Joseph was able to see God in the whole episode of his relationship with his brothers. He assures them of his own kindness to them. See what an excellent spirit Joseph was of, and we must learn of him to render good for evil. He comforted them, and, to banish all their fears, he spake kindly to them. Broken spirits must be bound up and encouraged. Those we love and forgive, we must not only do well for, but speak kindly to. As his brothers supplicate Joseph for forgiveness, we too must forgive and wept over them. You see when you speak kindly you banish their fears, revive their spirits, and afford comfort to them. Isn’t that what God has been doing to us, as backsliding sinners. Isn’t that what God said to you, ‘fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted us, and spake kindly unto us’
3. Prepare Accordingly
Those of us who study and understand the word of God are anxiously looking forward to the rapture and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Those who try to attack the word of God will quickly tell us that the word “rapture” doesn’t appear in the Bible. The Greek term where it appears is “harpazo” which means to be caught up or snatched away.
Before Jesus was seized by the religious leaders he said to the disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3)
This will be a secret event (a thief in the night) when Christ takes the believers from the earth which is commonly referred to as the rapture. “Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.” (Matt.24:40-42)
Scriptures associated with the rapture are in line with ancient Jewish marriage traditions where the groom leaves to prepare a place for his bride. In the parable of the ten virgins, the virgins are the bride’s maids who are watching and listening for the groom. Five of them were foolish and had to go buy more oil. Consequently, they were left behind.
The church is the bride and Christ is the groom. He has gone to the Father to prepare for his bride and when he returns, he will take her to his father’s house where there will be a glorious celebration.
The second coming is when the Lord comes back with his bride (true believers) to set up his kingdom. Meanwhile, those who were left behind will go through what Jesus called the Great Tribulation, which is when the Antichrist will be revealed.
This will be a time unlike any other since the world began. Those who are left on the earth will see some incredible things. There will be a great deception and those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life will eagerly receive it.
“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matt. 24:24)
God is going to send them a strong delusion and they will believe it because they want to believe it. Those who turned away from the living God to embrace a one world religion, among other things, will also readily embrace the Antichrist.
Halfway through this seven-year period, the Antichrist will set up the abomination of desolation. Those who take the mark of the beast will be acknowledging the beast as Lord and thereby denying Christ. Many of those who don’ take the mark of the beast will be martyred. Things will only get worse as the Great Tribulation progresses.
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand 🙂 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matt.24).
The best way to prepare Christ’s coming is to live life like a cup of coffee. Concentrate not on the cup but the coffee.
‘“Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.”