Two Christmases ago our children clubbed together to buy us a Tassimo coffee machine. It is a gift that is used daily. While I prefer my coffee made with Costa Americano capsules, there are many other choices including cappuccino, latte, and even Oreo flavoured hot chocolate. To get the best results from the Tassimo it is necessary to follow the instructions. While these are relatively simple they are not easy to find unless you look carefully at the packaging that holds the capsules. I have found the same to be true of coffee machines from other manufacturers that I have encountered on occasions in hotel rooms. There are some I have struggled to operate without instructions, especially as there is usually no packaging, just a few capsules left by the machine.
When we had guests in our home recently I showed them how to operate the Tassimo and where the capsules were stored. In the morning I noticed that one of our guests had half a mug of what appeared to be frothy milk. I asked if she was enjoying her coffee, but she was far too polite to complain. Then the penny dropped. She had only used the milk capsule and the hoped for latte had no coffee in it. The instructions to use a milk capsule followed by a coffee capsule are printed on the packaging, but it is easy to assume that as the Americano requires a single capsule then latte should be the same.
All this got me thinking about things we miss out on, and how we convince ourselves sometimes that things are OK when evidently they are not. Are we satisfied with being handed with frothy milk when we expected a latte? Why do we settle for second best? Looking around the world there is much on offer that quite frankly is second best. Sadly, this includes some of our churches. The fact that God is not in the business of second best is evident in all that He poured into creation, and in the way that He sent His Son Jesus to this world to redeem it. So how come we constantly end up with weak faith? Lives that are half full of froth? When was the last time we checked not just the instructions, but also our satisfaction with what comes out of the machine? Is your faith like a mug of weak coffee, a latte, an Americano, an espresso, or something else?
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (Colossians 2:6-8 NIV)