The pastor of my church doesn't enjoy preaching sermons about giving. But he teaches expositionally, so If he encounters a passage about giving in the book of the Bible he's preaching through, he can not ignore it. He must preach about giving.
He must. If it's in The Word, we need to hear it. I need to hear it.
One Sunday I really needed to hear it.
Pastor J was preaching about sacrificial giving that day, and I remember thinking, "I'm a single mom with two teenagers. I make little money and there is simply nothing that can be sacrificed. Nothing. I've got this one, man. I'm good."
Mercifully, God only targeted one thing. But he was very succinct. A flashing neon sign appeared on the inside of my eye lids. Every time I blinked I read COFFEE.
Nuh uh. No way. That sign couldn't have been meant for me, he must have goofed. God would not ask me to give up coffee. He loves me.
He does love me, but he knew some stuff. He knew my car automatically turned into my favorite drive-through coffee shop every morning, He knew the baristas at The Grind had my 'grande, half-caf, tan mocha with whip' made before I ever pulled up to the window. He knew how much money I was spending on coffee every month. It was a lot.
God. He's observant. And he was serious...I needed to give it up.
The detox period was painful; the headaches lasted about a week. The emotional detox was worse, a warm cup of chocolatey coffee is a such a comfort and I had to learn to start my day without it. My poor co-workers, I wasn't very nice while I went through withdrawal. Every Sunday for several months I placed the exact amount of my weekly coffee card in the offering plate. It was important to me. My girlfriend would ask, "Why don't you just write out a check for the whole month?" Nope. I refused to add it to my typical offering check. I wanted God to see that I was giving sacrificially. I wanted him to notice.
It didn't take long for me to realize I felt much better without my coffee. It was loaded with gluten and dairy...things I now know I can't have. Eventually the sacrifice was no longer a sacrifice. Eventually I tasted victory, and it didn't make me sick.
Eventually I realized soy milk makes a great cup of coffee.
I haven't fallen completely off the wagon. I only allow myself one a week.
And on Sundays, I drink tea.