I am about to make an admission that will certainly take me out of the running for “Mother of the Year.” Grace likes coffee. More specifically she likes mochas. She’ll take them hot or iced, preferably Starbucks, most definitely with the whipped cream on top! I first learned of Gracie’s early affinity for Mochas when she was about 15 months old. As I was doing my morning devotional I heard “Mmmmm, it’s delicious!” I looked over to see her gripping my mug o’ mocha with a dribble resting on her chin. “Coffee!” was one of her first words, “I wanna coffee!” was one of her first full sentences, and she can readily identify the “Starbucks Lady” and exclaim “Coffee, Mama!” Of course she declares after each sip, “It’s Delicious!”
I am still amazed at the notion that this kid likes mochas. I’m like, “Seriously? Not cookies? Not ice cream? But, Mochas?” And though I know I am officially out of the running for “Mother of the Year” I say without guilt that I allow her to share in my delight over a warm (or iced) cup o’ Joe. I slough off the looks of judgment from folks flabbergasted that I would give my child coffee! In my defense, we do at least only drink decaf, and anyway, can it be any worse than having her hopped up on sugary snacks and cereal? And after all, what is the harm in it— shouldn’t life be delicious?
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating self-indulgence or the “do whatever makes you happy” mentality that is so pervasive today. Every so often I do feel the mocha enjoyment turning to a powerful addiction, and we have to put on the breaks, (sometimes for the pocket book as much as for the hips!) That fine line between enjoyment and addictive indulgence can be all too easy to cross. In fact, I have been thinking and praying a lot lately about my own sin of indulgences (An addiction to Starbuck’s mochas sometimes among them as already confessed.) And ultimately, I have been asking the question: What is that all about? Not just the Mochas, but also the “shopping therapy,” or overindulging on excessive amounts of chocolate, ice cream and popcorn (my three other food-groups.) I have come to the conclusion that it is all about satisfaction.
We want to taste satisfaction in our lives. We are all looking to experience something delicious. But all too often we go to the wells that do not really quench our thirst to try and gain that satisfaction. We go to the wells that leave us parched and unsatisfied grasping for more. Life is a long distance marathon and doing this is like guzzling quarts of soda (or Starbucks mochas) instead of really dousing our thirst with the replenishing living power of water. It’s like thinking spending one more dollar on “ME” will actually provide that delicious taste of satisfaction that we all hunger for.
Is your life truly delicious? Are you really satisfied? Or are you chasing one false “high” after another trying to quench a thirst that you just can’t seem to satisfy? In truth, we can live in a sustained state of satisfaction. We can live in deliciousness 24-7! But it’s not in the way the world would tell us, by feeding our indulgences. Rather, it is by the way Jesus would tell us. “Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst.” (John 4:14 NIV) I think the NLT translation gives an even better feel for this: “But the water I give them takes away thirst altogether. It becomes a perpetual spring within them… ”
Can you imagine a perpetual spring within? Can you imagine never having to go outside to find satisfaction, but always being able to draw from a well within? How do we find our way to that living spring of satisfaction? Jesus tells us: “I am the way the truth and the life.” The answer lays in him— HE is the way to perpetual satisfaction! This does not mean that when we go to Jesus we somehow get a “perfect” life. Instead, it means that in the midst of this imperfect world, our imperfect lives and imperfect people (ourselves included), we can have this perpetual spring from within to draw on for perfect satisfaction. The problem is most of us do not trust Jesus’ promise for the spring of living water, so we do not look to him as the way, the truth and the life. Instead, we go to other places vainly trying to find some way, truth and life that will most satisfy our hearts. We do not trust him to lead us on a path to contentment, that to a place where we can live and be satiated on a higher plane.
I do not know what you personally are chasing or guzzling to try and satisfy your hunger and thirst. But I do know that none of us needs to continue on that path. Because of the price Jesus paid by his death for our sins on the cross of Calvary, he paved the way to the Father’s house. We each now have a seat at the King’s overflowing table of abundance. This is not some vague promise meant for some future life in heaven where we all have our wings and harps! This is a promise for RIGHT NOW and God’s word tells us so. The 23rd Psalm proclaims “Thou preparest a table before me….” The preparations have been made and the feast is now.
King David, having been a shepherd, was making a parallel in the 23rd Psalm between the relationships of shepherd to sheep, as the Lord to his people. In the summer months the sheep approach the highlands or “tablelands” to feed. While these are remote and difficult to reach, the shepherd presses ahead and goes about the difficult task to prepare both the path and the high field for his flock. This is a real parallel to our lives. Like the sheep we taste everything along the way trying to satisfy our hunger and fill our bellies. We may even know some of these “tastes” are not good for us, even perhaps deadly or destructive. Yet we mindlessly munch on! Thankfully we have a Master who has gone before us and made the self-sacrifice to prepare the way, the way that leads directly to those rich tablelands, that place where we can be satiated on a higher plane. (1)
In Philip Keller’s A Shepherd Looks at Psalm Twenty Three he says:
Jesus told us Himself, that He had come that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Just as the sheepman is thrilled beyond words to see his sheep thriving on the high, rich, summer range (It is one of the highlights of his whole year), so my Shepherd is immensely pleased when He sees me flourish on the tablelands of a noble, lofty life that He has made possible for me.
Part of the mystery and wonder of Calvary, of God’s love to us in Christ, is bound up too with the deep desire of His heart to have me live on a higher plane. He longs to see me living above the mundane level of common humanity. He is so pleased when I walk the ways of holiness, of selflessness, of serene contentment in His care, aware of His presence, enjoying the intimacy of his companionship.
To live thus is to live richly.
To walk here is to walk with quiet assurance.
To feed here is to be replete with good things
To find this tableland is to have found some-
thing of my shepherd’s love for me. (2)
He has prepared a table before you. Today as a son or daughter of the King you may take at a place at His table. Fill yourselves with the real soul satisfying life from Jesus. Pull your chair up close to the Father’s table…. Trust Him to satisfy your every hunger and thirst…. Drink in the spring of living water, and find joy in this life now… It’s delicious!
(1) Keller, Phillip, A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1970, pgs. 99-103
(2) Ibid, pgs 108-109.