Saturday, March 27, 2010
"Our Saviour kneels down and gazes upon the darkest acts of our lives. But rather than recoil in horror, he reaches out in kindness and says, 'I can clean that if you want.' And from the basin of his grace, he scoops a palm full of mercy and washes our sin."
I grasped the smooth ivory handle, picked up the cup, and placed it to my chapped lips that craved comfort from a cold, damp, windy night. Feeling the not-warm mug press against my mouth, I sipped, then, wanted to spit. It was lukewarm, which didn't meet my great expectations.
Needing to catch the attention of our waitress, Jeff and I looked her way and politely motioned to her. "I'm sorry, but my coffee isn't hot." She sweetly apologized and returned minutes later with another cup and plenty, even more than I could drink, of fresh, steaming decaf. Seeing the waves rise from my mug, I was relieved, and ready to move ahead and share some lovely moments with my love.
Lukewarm coffee would have diminished our date. It was a late rainy Monday night, and my husband and I had just attended a beautiful revival service. We wanted to share our souls and bask in the afterglow of God's blessings. A quiet booth in a warm cafe with cups of coffee seemed the perfect capstone. Lukewarm coffee just wouldn't have got it done.
Lukewarm is perfect for a baby's bath, but not for coffee. It makes it stale and steals it pretty aroma. And, it makes a clear statement of "I am not the best" and "I could be hours old."
For coffee lovers, a cup of hot brew summons the senses. The sight of steam dancing over a cup is alone bliss. The coming warmth is calming. The idea of the approaching flavor prepares the taste buds for unreserved, heartfelt sipping. Which is why you do not see signs advertising "Cool Coffee Served," or "Fresh Roasted Lukewarm Java."
But cool coffee helps me understand, . . . to inhale and drink in, . . .
the God-breathed analogy in Revelation that rivets me to its text and shakes me to my soles.
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth" (Revelation 3:15-16, NKJV).
The Lord cares about our passion for Him. He takes it personally and checks it with His own sovereign thermometer. He tries our savor to taste and see if we're a worthy drink offering. Our temperature reading measures the worth of our worship.
God desires we are red-hot, on-fire, passionate worshipers and disciples. He had even rather find us cold than lukewarm.
Why would God rather we be cold than room temp?
If we are cold, we know it. We shiver in our sin. We see uncovered goosebumps climb our barren arms. And we sense the approaching agony of a frost-bitten heart. We know our desperate need to find a warm place by God's flame. We envy those fellow saints who pass us, doing their Father's business, while bundled in fleecy wools and cozy leathers.
If we are lukewarm, however, we do not feel. We are not concerned. We are not moved. The fire we see in others does nothing to our need. Their godly coverings do not make us jealous. We do not desire to find a fire and warm our flesh.
"Lukewarm" means lacking enthusiasm or conviction; to be indifferent; unconcerned; uninterested; apathetic; Laodicean.*
Laodicea was one of the seven churches Christ addressed in the book of Revelation. They believed they had no spiritual need. They did not see their need for covering. Christ therefore counseled them, "buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see" (Revelation 3:18, NIV).
Jesus wanted to give the Laodiceans a new beginnning and fresh vision. He wanted them to have their own personal revelation of Him. He pleaded and said, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (3:19-20).
Christ wanted the Laodiceans to be close to Him. To sit down with Him and dine. To have an intimate meal with Him and know Him. To know He loved them.
Jesus wants the same for me and you.
He wants us to see. He wants us to have personal need awareness. He wants to give us His gold in exchange for our perceived wealth. He wants us to experience the pain of spiritual blindness, so we can realize the poverty of self-life.
Jesus wants us to be honest with ourselves and encounter His word, which is Christ Himself. He desires that we know Him, not just serve Him, and not just know of Him.
Do you know Him? Do you dine with Him? Do you sit down with Him? Do you gaze at His beauty as He sits across the table? Do you let His eyes slice your darkness?
My coffee was lukewarm that chilly, Monday night. It was not acceptable to me. It's lackluster presence could have dulled the beauty of a blessed evening.
I had to confess my need. I had to bring the problem to the server, so she could fix it for me. It wouldn't have been right to do it myself. It wasn't my place.
Jesus wants to be your server and fix things for you. Do you taste the bitter water of indifference? Are you struggling to choke down staleness?
Let Jesus fix things for you. Call Him to your table and tell Him your need. Give Him your lukewarm chalice. Jesus' own hands will take your cup, bring you a new, clean, empty vessel, and pour into it warmth, healing, life, and love. You will not be disappointed. You will no longer live alone from worldy wealth. You will not want your old cup back.
Do not be afraid to let it go. Do not be afraid to give up you lukewarm drink. Do not be afraid of His transformational presence at your table. Do not fear His humble hands.
Great expectations wait to warm your soul.
Because He First Loved Us,
*Definitinon is from www.thefreedictionary.com.