My father was born in 1928. By the time I came into the world in 1956 and became aware of some of his practices in 1963, he regularly enjoyed coffee with cream and sugar. A fair amount of sugar in each cup. One of the duties tasked to my sister and I was preparing pots of coffee for our parents’ use. This was when ground coffee was put into a raised basket by the spoonful, put into a pot with water, and when heated on the stove would percolate. You could hear it, see it, and smell it brewing!
Today we may use different devices to prepare our hot beverages, but coffee continues to play a significant role, bigger than ever in the grand scheme of things. Coffee is the second most globally traded commodity – next only to crude oil. The international consumption per year is estimated at 400 billion cups. Coffee is linked to $225 billion worth of the American gross domestic product. It is the most widely consumed beverage of all, even exceeding tea.
Those who are over 65 years old tend to consume their coffee at home. Those under 35 enjoy getting their coffee made for them at coffee shops. And guess who drinks 44% of all the coffee in the USA? Millennials born between 1981 and 1996!
Brazil is the world’s number one exporter of coffee beans selling in a recent reports 41 million bags each weighing 132 pounds. That is a substantial number! Vietnam, Columbia, and Indonesia are among the other top end producers. Sixty percent of our world’s coffee is produced by small farmers.
Privileged to serve and visit other countries, I discovered that different cultures have their own ways of dealing with coffee. Travelling in Europe I discovered that a serving of Turkish coffee in a German based restaurant was very small, but very strong. In Russia, if you ordered a cup of coffee with cream, it takes them a moment longer because they serve warm cream with hot coffee. It will not simply be taken out of the refrigerator and given to you because it would cool off the hot beverage in an unsatisfactory way. The local Vietnamese restaurant has surprised me with their coffee presentation using a special filter and brewing process right at the table! Ethiopia practices an entire process involved in preparing coffee making it quite the starting point for hospitality and conversation.
The subject is of interest to me because, like so many things, it is a small thing during our life which has a much bigger impact than we realize. Little things make a big difference, and as is so often true, we don’t notice how significant they are until for some reason or another we encounter them.
The book we know as the Bible is an example. This is a book that is so easily taken for granted, yet it is one of the most widely printed and sold books of all time. Five billion copies to date! Before COVID 168,000 Bibles were sold or given to others in the United States every day! Seventy-seven out of one hundred households contain at least one copy. This book has been translated into 2,000 languages with about 40 versions available in English.
In 1908 in Superior, Montana two Christian salesmen had the idea that distributing free Bibles in hotels would be a great way to increase evangelism and bring comfort to lonely travelers. The Gideons were born and evolved into a global force working to provide Scriptures to all people in nearly every facet of life
Today there are remarkable advances in access to the Bible using cell phones and web-based options. The YouVersion Bible was born in 2006 and is available absolutely free. It has reported more than 519 million downloads on devices around the world. It presents the Bible in multiple versions and languages of choice.
The Bible is a book with a one-of-a-kind history. The scope and scale of its contents is unparalleled. Its accuracy and its significance are one of a kind, top of the heap, like no other. Men and women over the centuries have stories to tell of self-sacrifice and heroism. In the generation we live, thanks to the blood, sweat, tears and determination of these remarkable, Holy Spirit led and guided individuals, it is available to most of the planet today in a variety of formats.
The content is historic telling us what has happened, as well as prophetically what is going to happen. It defines origins, identity, conflict, processes and procedures, ups and downs of humankind from which we can find a united understanding of life itself, what matters and what doesn’t, what’s good and what’s not, what we have to look forward to and warnings about what to avoid.
At home growing up in the 1960’s I learned about preparing coffee. I learned to enjoy the taste and could make distinctions about flavor. But, as good as it was, coffee did not answer some of the important questions that kept occurring to me. The books I had been exposed to in the school and community libraries were interesting, but it was not until I encountered the Bible that I realized I had encountered something beyond a human author’s ability to create.
There were a number of indicators. The integrity of the story from beginning to end. The remarkable authorship over such a significant span of time. The outstanding verbal display of the human condition from Creation, to Fall, to restoration and redemption were all amazing reading. And then there was the fulfillment of a plan no one could have anticipated with the virgin birth, the transforming power of Jesus – not just His life changing miracles but also His ultimate crucifixion and resoundingly unique resurrection! So much of this was traceable, historical, already accomplished and the Bible was not finished yet. There was still more to the story. I was convinced. I had answers to issues. This book has informed me in helpful and honest ways about the past, the present and the future. It’s story is broad stroke and universal. It’s content impacts everyone everywhere. Reading it, seeing it in action and extending my outlook towards those who are committed to its concepts, principles and ideas made me a believer in something worth believing in! Something? No – Someone!
Some people drink their coffee in the morning. They think it is why God invented water and rare is the day that begins without it. Others may fuel their afternoon with a coffee break, offering an opportunity to rest a few minutes, potentially converse with colleagues, think about more personal things than the office or workplace. Whenever you drink yours, it is a great time and place to share the good news about the living Word of the Living God!