By Andrew Kreye.
For Goodness’s Sake
It is currently 6:30 AM. I have been awake since 5:00.
I would like to say that it’s been a productive morning, but most of it was spent sitting in a recliner sipping hot coffee.
Then again, I produced the coffee, so maybe I’ve done more than I’m giving myself credit for.
And compared to my weekend, in which my greatest accomplishments were grocery shopping and learning how to do an impression of Winnie the Pooh, I’d say this week is off to a good start.
Praise God for Mondays.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” – Gandalf, J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
- Coffee is Good.
“Great holiness consists in carrying out the little duties of each moment.” – St. Josemaria Escriva
St. Drogo: patron of shepherds, coffee, and people that others find repulsive.
That’s right. There’s a patron saint of coffee. He was a French hermit in the 12th century, and he has the same name as Frodo Baggins’s father. Cool dude, right?
But this isn’t a biography. I want to focus on something else.
Coffee is not necessary.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Wow, thank you, Andrew! What a helpful statement! That answers all of my questions! Now I’m prepared to go spread the good news!”
But hold your horses because there’s more.
Even though coffee is not necessary, God created it. He gives it to us so that we can enjoy it. As we enjoy it, we give thanks to God, and that brings us closer to Him.
“So, drinking coffee makes you holier?”
Well, no… but if you enjoy something while directing your mind and heart, your whole being, towards God, it will prepare you to reflect the love that you’ve recognized in God to others.
This isn’t only applicable to coffee, of course. Everything that you enjoy can be a place to encounter God’s goodness.
Depending on what it is you enjoy, that encounter may look very different. If you enjoy something like flowers, for example, you may see the goodness of God in how he crafted something so delicate whose only purpose is to brighten the world.
If you enjoy sunsets, you may be reminded of God’s fidelity. The sun sets every day, but we are confident it will rise again in the morning. We can also be confident that God will be with us every night, keep watch as we sleep, and be with us as we rise every morning.
Flowers and sunsets are not morally good in themselves, but we see God’s goodness revealed through them. So, what if you enjoy something that is not good?
Good question. And, as with everything, Jesus has the answer.
- The Fattened Caffeine
“So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” – Luke 15:20
Y’know the story Jesus tells of the Prodigal Son? (If you need a refresher, its Luke 15:11-32).
There are two sons, right? One son asks for all of his inheritance while his father is still alive. He leaves and wastes it all on things he enjoys, but they aren’t good things. He realizes how foolish he’s been and decides to go back to his father. He acknowledges his sins and asks to be treated as a hired worker because he doesn’t deserve to be his father’s son.
What does the father do?
The moment he sees his son, he runs to him without hesitation. He embraces him. He slaughters the fattened calf for a celebration.
The son found his enjoyment in things that are not good, and what came from it was also not good. He was alone, isolated from those who loved him. Once he recognized that, when he accepted that it was not good, it opened him to encounter the merciful, loving goodness of his father.
Now let’s look at son #2.
He stayed home with dad. He worked for dad. He did everything that dad told him to do.
He had everything he needed, but instead of finding enjoyment in it and seeing its goodness, he focused on what he didn’t have.
How often have you done the same?
I know I have. For example, when I haven’t had coffee.
Son #2 takes everything he has been given for granted, and he becomes jealous, indignant, angry.
The next time you notice that you’re being a son #2, remember what the father says to him: “My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.”
- It’s SO Good
“God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good.” – Genesis 1:31
Everything God created, He created good.
That includes us.
In His goodness, God allows us to decide how we live, how we love, and how we interact with all of His creation.
God doesn’t give us these unnecessary things just for us to fill ourselves up and to keep it to ourselves. He gives them out of love, and we are called to respond in love and thanksgiving.
Through this response, we become witnesses of our faith.
Instead of taking what we’re given, using it up, and moving on to the next thing, we do something that looks very silly.
“RIDICULOUS!” says the world, “That is not productive!”
This is the contradiction of the Christian: sometimes doing nothing is the most productive thing you can do.
Because it isn’t nothing, and what it produces is a relationship with God, which is what we were made for.
I once heard someone say (but I have no idea who) that the most important things in life are the unnecessary things because they give meaning to life.
So, encounter God in something small today, and recognize His goodness.
Take a moment to do nothing because if it weren’t for God, there wouldn’t be anything to do.
And lastly, give thanks to God for goodness’s sake!
“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.” – Winnie the Pooh