I recently found myself walking in to a pub like no other I’ve experienced before. There was something different about the atmosphere. There was something different about the bartender. There was something different about the drinks that lined the wall behind him. This was no normal experience — and I liked it. This was transcendental.
All the patrons sitting at the bar seemed enamoured with the bartender as he charmed his way through personal conversations with each individual, seemingly at the same time. Everyone was savouring their drinks as they crushed on the mysterious man behind the counter. I then looked around and saw rather miserable looking individuals sulking in the corner with empty glasses.
I wondered aloud why there was so much joy at the bar and so much misery in the corners only to have the bartender himself overhear the self-directed inquiry. To my surprise I got an immediate response. “They have been sulking over there for a while. I gave them what they asked for, but they’re just not willing to come on up for a refill.” “Seems rather silly,” I replied, “that’s not a big deal.” The bartender shrugged agreeably. “You’d be surprised how often it happens.”
I grabbed a vacant seat at the bar and began to watch the flow with which the bartender listened, conversed, and refilled glasses. It was astounding. He was mesmerizing and I clearly wasn’t the only one to be thinking it. As I got settled in, I couldn’t help but notice that there wasn’t an empty glass on the bar. Everyone was constantly being taken care of as they sipped away on their beverages of choice and lost themselves in conversation. Sip, chat, sip, chat. Not a soul there wanted to be anywhere else.
I was drawn back to the poor people in the corner and couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that they were so willing to put themselves through misery due to their stubbornness not to come up to the bar for a refill. Couldn’t they see how good of a time everyone else was having? I wasn’t about to let them drag me down, so I shifted my attention back to the life of the party and started thinking about what I wanted to order.
I gazed up at the bottles behind the bar and began to read them off in my head. Love… Dreams… Sustenance… Success… Hope… Healing… Redemption… Reconciliation… Relationships… on and on the list went. What kind of one-word hipster beverages are these? I know I didn’t ask that out loud, yet it all became clear as the Bartender slid down to assure me that whatever I needed, He had it.
As I awoke from my daydream to the mind-numbing traffic of Highway 400 at rush hour, I realized how I’ve spent my fair share of time in the corner nursing a delicious pint of blessing, of a special relationship, of dreams He has for me, yet came to the end and got so caught up in the perk that I forgot all about the Purpose. I got caught up in the dry glass and instead of making my way to the bar for a life-giving refill at the hands of the Bartender, I stood my ground, sulked, and found myself drying out.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Purpose), and all these things will be added to you (perks).” - Matthew 6:33 (additions in parentheses mine.)
I’ve been reminded lately of this very important lesson and in an all too real and raw way. God is a good God. He loves to provide and He loves to bless His children. However, how often do we get so caught up in the gift that we forget about the Giver. How often do we get so caught up in the perk that we forget about its Purpose?
We’ve all spent our fair share of time lost and sulky in the corner at different points in our lives. The beautiful thing, though, is that if we are willing to humble ourselves and take a few steps towards the bar, we will all be surprised by what God wants to pour into our glasses next.
Nobody mixes a cocktail like He does.