God, Vision, Patience and Coffee

 

Patience is hard. I’m not good at it, though I have grown more patient over time. Farmers are patient, risk taking people for the most part. Coffee farmers are even more so.

Most people don’t stop to think of where their coffee comes from, or the process that takes place in order for them to enjoy it. That glorious, energizing gift from God that you enjoy every morning starts off as a seed (or pit) of a cherry from a coffee tree. A coffee tree is a tricky plant, as it requires specific altitude, climate, heat, etc., for it to grow. But what separates the coffee farmer from most American farmers is the longevity of their investment before they ever get to see any fruit from it.

The coffee tree doesn’t produce cherries for its first 3-5 years of life. Then, as if that’s not bad enough, there’s no guarantee that the cherries it produces will be any good. As if that’s not trying enough, if the cherries are good, oftentimes they are picked selectively by the hands of people who check the cherries one at a time, picking ones that are ready, and leaving the others until they are found to be ripe. Talk about patience, faith, and playing the long game.[1]

Life isn’t a game, by any means, but patience, faith, and clear sight of the big picture are absolutely necessary. Life in general is full of tools that God uses to create patience in us: marriage, kids, work, school, relationships, hardships, among a plethora of other things. Usually the things that develop patience in our lives aren’t fun. However, they’re absolutely necessary. Roasted Riches has been, and continues to be, one of the things the Lord has used to develop patience within me. The entire venture to date has also taught me to trust God, His timing, and His ways far more than my own.

In Habakkuk 2:2-3, we see God’s message to a prophet regarding a vision promised:

And the Lord answered me:
     “Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.
   For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
     If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay.[2]

We don’t have a lot of information on what exactly that vision was, but it is clear that the message to Habakkuk was intended by God to instruct him to fight against “his impatience… and [to] wait for God to act in his own way and time…”[3]

Please understand that I don’t believe that anything and everything that a person gets excited about and wants to do is a vision from God, nor should we see all of our goals and ideas that way. But, generally speaking, if an idea’s sole purpose is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and bring glory to God, and it’s plausible, it is perfectly reasonable to believe that with enough determination, patience, and time, God will allow you to see your vision come to pass.

Let me be clear, I’m a pastor who deeply appreciates good coffee, and believes that amazing things happen within the walls of a good coffee shop. I’m also just entrepreneurial enough to be hazardous to my family and church if I don’t have the right people around me to guide my idealistic, visionary chaos and keep me in check. I also want to be clear in stating that I never wanted to run a coffee roasting business as an end in itself. Thank God for Ryan Tarver.

While pastoring and going to seminary in California I got into coffee roasting simply because I couldn’t afford to buy good coffee. And, as so many other hobbies and passions in my life, I couldn’t just leave it at that. As I see the political and religious landscape in America changing, I also see a need for the way we do missions and ministry in America to change. Sinking millions of dollars into a ready-to-go church plant in a box probably won’t work forever, for legal reasons, as well as many others. Maybe I’m wrong. Only time will tell. However, as a guy whose passion is to see people who don’t know God saved by the Gospel of Jesus, and for those who already know Jesus grow deeper, more intentional, and more authentic in their faith, Roasted Riches started as a dream that would serve as a means to that end. While so many Christian ministries and businesses fall into the trap of either a) forsaking biblical truth for relevance, or b) sacrificing excellence in order to pinch pennies, I hope to see something more come to fruition.

The goal of Roasted Riches has never been just to sell coffee or open a coffee shop. The mission and purpose have always been to create a space (coffee shop) where all of the people running it were on the same page when it comes to the vision: make disciples and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Coffee shops have always had a way of attracting people of various walks of life. If you walk into a local coffee shop, the people in it reflect the community that the business is located in. Now, what if that shop roasted its own coffee that was of the highest quality, designed the space in a way that welcomed long stays for study, meetings, and conversation, and the people who ran it were committed to actively praying for, serving, and getting the Gospel to as many of the people who came to that as possible. What if the goal wasn’t simply to make money and keep the doors open, but to eventually see an organic church plant start right there, in that space, because the people running the business are theologically equipped, spiritually mature, and actively obedient to the Great Commission. That has always been the goal of Roasted Riches. That’s the vision.

Now, rewind a second to my original point about patience, and me not having any. It’s been four years since God gave me that vision. It’s been a discouraging journey so far, and one that has created more patience and trust in God than I could have ever imagined. The most discouraging part right now, is that we’re still a long way off. I’m pastoring a local church that I love, in a small town that, interestingly enough, this city boy loves. It is in this place that God reconnected me with my friend, Ryan Tarver, who has been far more patient and dedicated to this vision than I have. For me, if it doesn’t happen overnight, I lose interest and find something else to do (thanks a lot, ADHD). Ryan, however, realized that the vision doesn’t happen without the business side of it, and by the grace of God, that part is slowly growing. We are to the point now where we need to get space so we can start the other parts of the vision: community and discipleship.

Please continue to pray for us, enjoy our coffee, and consider partnering with us financially. Any gift you give is tax deductible and will go towards the cost of renting and maintaining space that we hope to eventually see used in the way I’ve described.

 

[1] http://www.ncausa.org/about-coffee/10-steps-from-seed-to-cup

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Hab 2:2–3.

[3] David W. Baker, Nahum, Habakkuk and Zephaniah: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 27, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 58.

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