I’ve never been very good at following rules. After all, rules are made to be broken, aren’t they?
Fortunately, I serve a very patient and gracious God. Which is why I really didn’t have a guilt trip over the fact that I broke my “no-coffee” rule during Lent. That’s right. After I had the nerve to post my coffee fast on the blog (with my friends and family cheering me on), I slipped up during the 40 days of Lent. And I didn’t even feel guilty about it!
It was one of those weak moments. It was also premeditated. I had to wake up at 4:00 a.m. to drive out of town, and I told myself the night before, I am going to have a cup of coffee tomorrow. Sure, I could have prayed for strength. I could have driven right by the Starbucks. But I didn’t. Instead, I thanked God for that cup of coffee as I savored each sip.
I don’t think a cup of coffee has ever tasted better. I felt like King David eating the consecrated bread from the temple. When the Pharisees scolded Jesus’ disciples for picking wheat on the Sabbath, Jesus made it clear that he was more interested in our inward character than our outward appearances. Sure, we can appear to be “holy” if we’re going through the motions and acting “religious” but Jesus explained that even King David justifiably broke the rules:
Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need? In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.
Then he said to them, The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath. - Mark 2: 25-28
In other words, the rules are made for my benefit, not God’s. I don’t think God really cares if I broke my made-up rule of no coffee during Lent. Yes, it was an exercise in discipline for my benefit, not his. I do think God cares about the state of my heart, and I’m more than grateful that he has brought me into a relationship with him through his risen Son.
Besides, I could never follow all the rules. Thank God I don’t have to!
(Remember, for all you coffee lovers out there, we’ll have a Starbucks gift-card prize on Friday’s blog – details to follow!)