Coffee in the morning means I've had a rough night. I like a cup at midday to power through the afternoon. Recently, I needed a morning dose to make it my midday cup. I knew I was desperate when I was willing to stand in line for caffeine.
On my way into a coffee shop, people were walking out. Every person leaving put me one step closer to the counter. Sleep deprivation and thirst required repeated warnings about the fire drill. Because I was one of the last out of the building, I was one of the first to return. Craving coffee, in a coffee shop, after a fire drill, gives remarkable clarity.
People walked away to save their lives while my walk endangered my life. If I had known what they knew, I would have sooner done what they did. I was dealing with my own problems and missed a more important message. What can be more important than a life saving message?
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (I Corinthians 1:18)
I saw what I so desperately wanted, in abundance, yet abandoned. Choosing to walk as a Christian sometimes calls us to abandon what we want for the sake of the Cross.
An example is the season of Lent. Each year, we are invited to sacrifice our comforts and appetites to focus on the life-giving message of the Gospel. One of the promises in scripture is that Jesus is coming back: a reality called the Parousia. His return will find many, leaving much, craved by many.
His return will find people exiting daily living and entering eternal living.
I was grateful for the patrons who informed me of the fire drill. I was too sleepy to receive the message and had to hear from different people. A more helpful picture of the need for evangelism cannot be painted. Christians are called to share a life-giving message as often and creatively as needed.
When Christ returns, all trinkets and trophies will be left behind like drinks in a coffee shop during a fire drill. May I be to others what patrons were to me: focused on life and inviting others to live.
Alex Pickens III serves as the Senior Pastor of University Baptist Church in East Lansing, MI. He tends a vision to see all peoples of the world know, worship and grow (KWaG) as disciples of Jesus Christ. Alex and Naudia live with their two children near the campus of Michigan State University.