America was founded on the idea that we all have the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Life is a gift. Liberty is a gift. Happiness is relative. Each of us finds our happiness in different sources. In our society, we often think money is the driving factor that leads to happiness. However, most of us soon realize that “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity” (Ecclesiastes 5:10).
So, money is not our source of true happiness, but it is something we need to function and survive in our society. How we see money is very important. Me, I’m very frugal. Some may even call me cheap. I like to think of it as being a good steward of the gifts God has given me. However, I’m beginning to think that sometimes my frugality verges on idolatry.
Advertisers probably hate me. I’m the worst kind of consumer. I research everything. I’m the tech geek that knows all about the latest gadget or gizmo but never buys anything, because, let’s face it, my old version still works, and I’m going to run it into the ground before I get a new one. I do this with computers, cellphones, cars, TVs – pretty much everything. For the most part, I’d say this is a good quality. I’m not driven by acquiring the latest and greatest “thing.”
“Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15Click to tweet
However, when I do decide to buy something, a switch turns on, and I become obsessed with research. For example, I looked at over 2000 different engagement rings before finally choosing a ring (of course, one of the first ones I saw) to give to my now wife.
Most recently, with a second baby on the way, I’ve decided that the one thing I need in my life, the one liberty I’ll take with my money, the one thing that would help me in my pursuit of happiness… is a new coffee maker.
You see, I need a new way to make coffee. My wife disagrees. It turns out I already have four ways of making coffee: pour over, French press, espresso, and Aeropress. If I had my way, I’d have a full coffee bar in my dining room. So, if I take a step back, I guess I have to admit that my wife isn’t wrong when she points out that “need” is a very strong word in this case.
The thing is, my current options are all single serving, manual methods of making coffee, which is great when you have a leisurely morning. However, I don’t have a leisurely morning. I have a toddler. There’s no such thing as a leisurely morning. With a new baby girl on the way, my mornings are about to get even less leisurely. I already have to take 6-10 minutes of my morning manually pouring hot water over delicious roasted beans to make two cups of coffee. If I want another cup, it takes an additional 6-10 minutes. That’s a potential 20 minutes I could be spending with my son. So really, not buying a new coffee maker is actually selfish. It’s taking quality time away from my child!
With that unshakable logic in mind, I made the decision to buy an automatic drip coffee maker. That was over a month ago, and I researched coffee makers every single day until…
Last weekend, I finally pulled the trigger. As I write this, a new coffee maker is on its way. You’d think I’d be excited, and I am (probably too much for a coffee maker), but as soon as I made the purchase I also felt something else, something surprising. I felt a little… empty.
What was I going to research on my phone now?! Which YouTube videos was I going to watch when I had one of those rare free moments when my son was actually playing safely by himself?! What was I going to do with all those mental spreadsheets filled with dozens of plus and minus charts that influenced my purchase?!
It felt like something was missing from my life. And then it hit me… was I so focused on my research, so focused on making a wise, frugal purchase that I had turned frugality into idolatry?
I mean, Proverbs 20:13 says, “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.” So, really, my pursuit of deliciously caffeinated coffee in my pursuit to overcome sleep is not only wise but biblical… right?
All joking aside, it’s important for us to use our time wisely. There is nothing wrong with doing research to make a wise purchase. But like anything else, if our research becomes an obsession or we take comfort in our frugality rather than in God, then it’s sin.
Brother, what are you obsessed with? What do you spend your time thinking about? What you obsess over often points to what your treasure is. Let’s not turn God’s blessings into our obsessions. Instead, let the blessings always point us back to the Lord who blessed us in the first place. We need to be careful what becomes our treasure, “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).
If we make God our treasure, we’ll have real life, real liberty, and real happiness. If He’s our focus then coffee can just be the awesome blessing that helps us combat sleep. And as I already mentioned, we know what the Bible says about sleep.
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:10-11
Thank God for coffee!
Family Radio Staff