I don’t know exactly how long the little restaurant has been there on the side of the highway. I think I remember several locations around Austin, Texas, maybe the country. But this one has been there for 25 years I know for sure. It seems they have the same logo, floor plan and maybe even the booths are the same. Just an old coffee shop, a breakfast shop that has home-style meals all day long and into the wee hours of the night. A classic.
Another unchanged element to this place is the waitresses. “Hello honey, ya’ll come sit over here, coffee?” Ah yes, the hometown country gal who wants to know how ya been, how’s your mom and them, bacon, biscuit or ham? And the coffee never stops. Every few minutes she passes by with coffee pot in hand and checks in, ask if you need anything, then she’s off. Always moving, always busy.
So often today you go through the line, get a smiling face but it is a self-serve world. When I was younger, my parents owned a full-service gas station, convenience store and bait shop. The cars or trucks pulled up, we asked how much of what type of gasoline and we would take care of them. We checked the oil, tire air – if they asked – and had friendly conversations with everyone. I don’t know that it was always fun and that I was always joyful, but I remember it fondly.
When I think about things I love today, they are so much different than when I was younger. Things I have loved in the past and made it a point to include in my life were Saturday morning cartoons, new trucks every year, fishing at the coast, Farrah Fawcett and Levis 501 button fly jeans. So much of my life was spent loving things. It is easy to be drawn to the things that give us what seems to be pleasure and joy. Now I don’t think that is necessarily a bad thing; life’s simple pleasures can be great. But today, in my little world, I have a different take.
Family is probably the top of my list, my wife, kids, mom and dad. I love the smell of coffee. I have friends I dearly love. I love my home. It does not matter how fancy the hotel, I prefer my home. I enjoy all the goofy things that are humorous for a guy to say he likes, long walks, the smell of fresh cut grass, movies with my wife.
So now I have painted this soft, gentle, cute and fluffy picture of myself and my little life. In reality, it is not much different than yours. I have to figure out how to pay all the bills every month. We don’t have health insurance, we were going to, but the new law made it impossible to afford. I can be a complete jerk and totally ignore all the amazing things I love (see above) when I am consumed in my personal self-serving, selfish, self-gratifying selfness. I get off balance and don’t do the things that keep my head out of my rear and there I go, mayor of Jerkville.
The Pharisees were so consumed with themselves. They made sure they sat in the front of the temple, they made a big ordeal each time they dropped a coin in the offering plate. They hated that Jesus called them out on their pompous and self-serving egotistical lives. He modeled to them how it should be done, he gave them an example, he tried to explain it to them, alas they were only interested in their personal needs and thoughts. There were times Jesus had to give them the big kibosh like clearing the temple or blinding Saul. Big attention getters. Sometimes it worked, others not so much.
Jesus has been the game changer for me. He is the answer my heart was looking for all those years. He filled the hole I had that all the new trucks, money, drugs, things could not fill. He is like those incredible ladies serving coffee at the restaurant. Always willing to fill my cup back up. Always asking how I am, how is the family, what can He do for me. Those ladies make you feel good, allowing them to serve you is what they want. You want to tip them well, reciprocate the howdy. A relationship with Christ sure has made a difference in my life today and I hope that along the way I fill someone else’s cup, that I can serve them well. That the big guy upstairs, life’s coffee shop owner in heaven, tells me when my shift is over, “Ya got a lot of good tips there TJ, tells me you served your customers and the shop faithfully, job well done today son. Come on in, a bunch of folks have been waiting on you. Coffee?”
TJ Greaney is editor of Country Line Magazine and Founder of Kids Outdoor Zone Youth Outdoor Adventure Ministry. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org –