Being a mother to a four month old, I have learned to take advantage of any free time I have. More often than not, my free time consists of coffee. Before having Asher, I wasn't a big coffee drinker. After numerous late nights and several wake-ups to feed a crying baby, that all changed. The other day I drove to Dunkin' Donuts during my free time to get my "usual." My usual consists of a blueberry iced coffee, one pump of caramel, with cream and liquid sugar. Go ahead, try it, and allow it to bring joy into your heart (seriously it is so good)!
While waiting in the drive thru for my coffee, a man pulled up and attempted to cut in front of me. I won't lie, I wasn't happy about it. 1) It was way too early in the morning and this mama didn't get very good sleep and 2) I couldn't comprehend the boldness to blatantly cut someone off. I had convinced myself that maybe the man simply didn't see me. With this interpretation of events in my mind, I decided to tap my car horn to let him know I was there. What followed was many obscene gestures and words that were not very pleasant. My initial reaction was rage. How dare this man flip his lid on me when he was the one trying to cut corners!? How dare he yell at me and scream his head off?! Although the man lost his mind, he allowed me to drive ahead of him. As I drove past, he continued to scream more harsh words my way. At this point, my blood was boiling. I proclaimed to the heavens above "Jesus, give me peace, give me peace, dear Lord give me peace!" My fleshly nature wanted to jump out of my car, run over to his window, and give him a piece of my mind. However, I remained in the car and continued to proclaim peace over the situation. As I turned up the radio, I heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart "Buy the man's coffee."
Yeah...no. "No God, please don't make me. He was such a jerk! He doesn't deserve a free coffee! Especially a free coffee paid by me!" Again, I heard the urging "Buy his coffee." Once again I pleaded with the Lord "God... seriously. Please, no, just no. Please." But again, the response I heard was "Buy the man's coffee, Ciara." I sat there and as I waited to approach the pay window, I seriously had a wrestling match between my flesh and Spirit. I felt justified to stand my ground, not buy the man's coffee, and go on my merry way. However, the Lord was urging me differently. As I was struggling with this small act of obedience, God showed me a new perspective.
As I drove past the man, I realized he had a son in the backseat who had down-syndrome. I began to think about the man's appearance and how he looked frazzled. I then felt like the Lord was putting all the pieces together. I had no idea what that man had gone through that morning, that week, or the months before. Was he exhausted? Was he handling so much on his own and was at his wits end? Was he scared? Worried? Are any of these reasons okay for the way he treated me? Absolutely not, but whatever the reason, the Lord wanted to use me to show this man that He cared. When I began to see it through that Godly lens, it was a little easier to be obedient.
You see, Jesus essentially bought our cup of coffee when we were the "jerks". Our cup of coffee given to us by him was the free gift of salvation. He took the nails in his hands and died upon a cross while we were sinners, while we were rude, inconsiderate, and harsh. Did we deserve this opportunity? No, but Jesus paid for it anyways. Jesus paved the way and set the example.
I paid for my coffee and then told the employee that I was paying for the man behind me. She rang up his total, I offered my card, and I was on my way. As I pulled forward, I watched as the man held his cash out the window to the cashier. After watching their interaction, his head shot straight forward and he looked at the back of my car with his mouth hanging open. I simply smiled to myself and drove away. In a matter of moments, all anger towards this man dissolved. Wouldn't it be amazing if humanity could grasp hold of what Jesus did for each of us? Despite our attitudes, struggles, hardship, pains, and regrets, what if we could all acknowledge the gift that God freely extends to us in the midst of our greatest trial? When I approached that window, I didn't care what the total was of the man's order, I was going to pay for it regardless. Jesus didn't care and doesn't care how much you have messed up or the current state of your life. He wanted to pay the price so that you could find reconciliation and redemption through Him. We didn't have to earn the gift He gave us, He simply did it because He loves and cares for us. I was encouraged to show the love of Jesus in action. I hope the man behind me drove away from that moment with a little more compassion in his heart, and if he didn't...that's okay too! I truly believe scripture when it says some plant the seeds, others will water, but God brings the increase. I felt justified to drive away and not pay mind to anyone but myself, however the Gospel propels me to love others even when they may not show love towards me. If I want to see other's come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, it will require me to see with a Godly perspective in order to plant seeds that are otherwise difficult to sow. If we want to show the world who Jesus is, we must live in such a way that is selfless and sees the God given potential in everyone and to tap into that, even if it's "just a cup of coffee."
"He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building." 1 Corinthians 3:8-9