A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine at work bought me a large Americano from Costa. I didn’t ask for a coffee, I didn’t expect her to get me a coffee; but out of simple generosity and thoughtfulness, she went behind my back to do something nice. I was really grateful, with the coffee proving to be a very welcome companion (and distraction) to my rather long ‘to-do’ list for the morning.
This incident got me thinking beyond morning coffee. I don’t know about you, but whenever someone goes behind my back and does something thoughtful for me, it makes me feel good. That someone would take time out of their busy day, putting aside for a moment or two everything that demands their attention, to show generosity through one simple act, even when I did not ask or expect it, is a powerful thing. It can suddenly make a bad day turn into a good day, provide a welcome perspective on a bad situation, replace an attitude of scepticism with one of optimism, offer a source of strength to conquer a prevailing sense of weakness, remind us that someone does value us and is thinking of us.
Over 2000 years ago, someone else went behind my back to do something really thoughtful for me. Just like my friend who bought me morning coffee a couple of weeks ago, this person did something for me that I did not ask for or expect. But more than that, this person did something for me before I was even thought of by my parents and which I simply did not deserve. In fact, before the world was even created, this person’s Father had determined that His Son would do something for me that was so thoughtful and significant that I would need not look any further to know what it means to love and be loved (cf. Ephesians 1:3-10).
It’s Easter weekend. It’s certainly a tradition for me to enjoy my fair share of chocolate eggs, usually consumed in full (or near enough) by 5pm Sunday afternoon, and perhaps enjoy that thing (or things) I have decided to give up for the past 40 days of lent. It’s also customary to go along to a simple supper of bread and soup at church on Maundy Thursday, join a silent march behind the cross through our High Street on Good Friday, and sing numerous songs of celebration on Easter Sunday morning. The danger I find each year, for me personally, is that these events become simply a tradition, with the meaning of each one gradually lost in the routine of everything. As such, I try to approach Easter each year with a different perspective on the events surrounding the cross and all that preceded and followed it.
This year, it’s hit me afresh that as Jesus agonised over the thought of all that beckoned Him the day before His death, had a crown of thorns etched into his head, carried a heavy wooden beam through the streets of Jerusalem, stood silent amid a barrage of accusation and slander, had nails beaten into His hands and feet and felt forsaken by His Father as the weight of sin reared its head, He was thinking of me.
And that was when I did not ask for it, expect it and way before I was even born.
Jesus went behind my back to do something for me that would give me the greatest of gifts, a gift that I am totally undeserved of: Himself. And by knowing Jesus, I need no longer feel guilty for the stupid things I do, have a sense of hopelessness when things get bad, or be fearful of the unknown things like what happens when I die.
I am thankful to God for morning coffee. One, because I like it. A lot. But two, and most importantly, because it has reminded me that when Jesus lived, died and came back to life, He was thinking of me and He was thinking of you.