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At The Table
by Bro. Clifford Hurst
1101 North Union Road
Dayton, Ohio 45417
"This coffee is cold!" I couldn't believe anybody would be like that when I read it. I was reading a memoir written by a flight attendant. She recounted a time when a man on one of her flights had a heart attack. The attendants maneuvered the man out into the aisle. One ripped open his shirt and attached the defibrillator. This lady telling the story said she was holding the oxygen tank and mask. As they worked fervently in the cramped aisle to resuscitate the man, the attendant said she felt a tug on her sleeve from someone in the seat behind her. She ignored it. The person tugged again. She again ignored it. There was another tug, she without turning her attention from the victim of the heart attack said, "Can't you see we are trying to save this man's life?" A few seconds passed, and there was yet another tug. The flight attendant then thought: "Perhaps, this is someone who knows something about this man. Or, perhaps, this person is having an emergency of her own." Such thoughts compelled her to turn her head to look at the insistent passenger and ask, "Yes, what is it?" The passenger stretched out her hand holding a coffee cup and said, "This coffee is cold. Can you get me another cup?" Imagine! Yet, I have experienced similar in a church service and in life. Great efforts are being made to save souls, and, yet, someone interjects with a complaint that, figuratively, his coffee is cold. When we quit trying to save a life, we will begin to complain about the coffee being cold. Compared to a man's life, cold coffee is trivial. When we fail to keep the focus on the mission of the church, the purpose of our existence, we will resort to fussing over cold coffee. We will crab over someone not shaking our hand, not being invited to a birthday party, the temperature in the Sanctuary being too cold, the paint color too yucky, the music too loud, the sermon too long, the song too modern, the kids too noisy--the coffee too cold. None of those involved in trying to save the man were upset or protesting their coffee was cold. It is an narcissistic fixation on self that would cause one to complain of something as trivial as cold coffee when a struggle to save a life is going on. In church, when one's concern is reduced to "My coffee is cold," it is certain that something is cold. That person's soul is cold. Really cold.