Coffee Stains: Mamas and Sleepy TeenagersAuthor: David Porter
It’s a ‘business as usual” morning.
His mom had called him three times before he finally fell out of the bed, exhausted from eight hours of sleep. You know how it is with mamas. The first time she chirps, ‘It’s time to get up,’ you grunt to give evidence that you’re alive and that you haven’t died from ‘sudden teenager night death syndrome.’ But you don’t have to move yet so you sink back into oblivion. The first yell is kind of like the snooze button on the alarm clock. The second time she yells, ‘Get up or you’re going to be late!’ you can stay in the sack a little longer, but you need to be cautious. It’s a bit dangerous, depending on the mood she’s in that day.
When she screams the third time, you can stay in bed if you’ve got a death wish but it’s better to get up. So our mumbling adolescent stumbles into the waking world. After a long shower and about twelve blasts of, ‘You better hurry up or you going to be late!’ he finally comes alive. It’s time to put on his aftershave … after shaving off his four whiskers, of course. ‘Axe! Ah, look out girls here I come!’ He slaps on the cologne, thoroughly soaking all the skin-covered portions of his body, much as a steady three-day rain saturates the earth. The smell wafts out of the bathroom and sets off his mother who remembers that she hasn’t yelled in the last two minutes. ‘You better hurry or you’re going to be late!’ But he hasn’t finished. His hair! Ah, the masterwork is about to begin.
The bathroom is littered with his tools, grease, hairspray, foam, gel, glue. Ah, maybe that’s not glue. After 30 minutes, and an increasingly frantic chorus of, ‘You better hurry or you’re going to be late,’ repeated at 30-second intervals now, punctuated with blows on the bathroom door, our hero emerges from the inner sanctum to face the world. Spikes protrude in odd directions from the top of his head. Actually those are hair spikes but it’s better not to touch them because they could make a hole in your hand, blowtorched into place as they are with three fourths of a can of hairspray, augmented by a bottle of hair gel and who knows what else? Flies and mosquitoes stop in mid-flight, stunned by the shockwaves of cologne fragrance, then fall lifelessly to the earth. He’s ready to attack the day. He spent 10 minutes on his math assignment last night and four hours on video games, television, chatrooms, etc. ‘Hey, you gotta have priorities. If you want to excel at something you’ve got to put your heart into it,’ he thinks as he admires his appearance once more before dashing out the door with his mother’s cries ringing in his ears, ‘You better hurry or you’re going to be late!’
Fact is, if we want to do something well, really well, excellent even, we spend a lot of time and effort doing it. We discipline ourselves. We decide what we want to do and we spend our time doing it. Even if it’s the desire for good-looking hair, we put our heart into it, as least as long as our hair holds out. A little question. Think about your life. What do you spend you time on? What cranks your engine?
David wanted to excel in knowing God.
- ‘O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.’ (Ps. 63:1, NIV).
David excelled in desiring God’s Word.
- ‘I was up before sunrise, crying for help, hoping for a word from you. I stayed awake all night, prayerfully pondering your promise.’ (Ps. 119:147, 148, The Message)
David (and Messiah Jesus) strove to excel in obeying the Father.
- ‘I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD.’ (Ps. 40:8, 9, NIV)
Assembling with God’s people inspired David.
- “When they said, ‘Let’s go to the house of God,’ my heart leaped for joy.” (Ps. 122:1)
Israel counted David as their greatest king and his heart, which aspired to be the best, was a key. I doubt if hair spikes or cologne were his thing. He gave everything to be excellent in knowing God and the things God called him to do. Think about your life. What are you giving time to? What gets you excited? If you don’t like the answer, ask God to help you change.
‘You know what the wolves call the sheep who strays away from the flock? Lunch!’ (Bayless Conley)