I accidentally made a new discovery a couple of years ago. I forgot about the coffee pot and left it on all day. I didn’t have a coffee maker with an auto shut-off back then, so when I finally noticed it, the stuff was past even that sludge stage. The entire pot of coffee had been reduced to a layer of tar. Fascinating. It was black and sort of chewy-looking. I sniffed it, just out of curiosity, and I think it gave me a little bit of a caffeine buzz.
That’s when it hit me that I might actually have something. What if I peeled it off the bottom of the pot and cut it into plastic-looking strips? Voila! Coffee Jerky! Just think what this could mean to all those heavy-eyed weekday commuters. Instead of sloshing scalding coffee in their laps and all over their nice leather seats, they could just pop out a hunk of coffee jerky. I’m thinking it would be a great way to make a pot of coffee last all day, too. It would take several hours just to get it all out of your molars. Residual caffeine!
This discovery might help to keep our entire society more alert!
Alertness is a good thing. First Peter 5:8 instructs us to “Be self-controlled and alert,” and then tells us why: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV). Creepy, isn’t it? It would terrify us if we didn’t have the rest of Scripture to tell us that our Heavenly Father is infinitely more powerful than the Enemy. We even have the next verse in the passage to charge us to, “Resist him, standing firm in the faith.”
There’s also powerful instruction in the verse right before: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (verse 7).
Casting all your anxiety on Christ doesn’t mean you have to slip into a vegetative state. In java jargon, we can stay perky. “Self-controlled and alert.” It’s when we surrender our troubles to him that we are truly freed to be alert to Christ-centered things, those things that really count. It’s better than anything caffeinated, yet it won’t keep you up at night. As a matter of fact, giving your anxieties over to Jesus and focusing on him is exactly what you need for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Learning to “live alert” can revolutionize our walk with Christ. We can find ourselves waking up to new ways to love, serve and honor him. And that’s when we find our lives more grounded than ever before. Fresh-ground alertness. Cup by cup, it’s the holy espresso he can use to change our lives. I love how the Amplified Version expresses 1 Corinthians 16:13: “Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith, your conviction respecting man’s relationship to God … grow in strength!”
So even if you don’t enjoy a strong cup of java, enjoy a strong faith. Be alert to all things Jesus. Let’s wake up and smell the jerky.
Rhonda Rhea / Columnist