Stewardship in a Coffee Shop

My sanctuary, my scared space, is a local coffee shop. To say I’m there a lot would be an understatement. 

Sometimes I’m there just for a moment, other times it’s for hours – gathering with friends or having a meeting with co-workers. The question I don’t like asking myself is how much time does the purchase of my drink give me to take advantage of wifi and power – offered for ‘free’? 

My orders are often simple: an Americano, and if I’m feeling fancy some sparkling water. Yet more recently it’s the gourmet donuts they have begun to carry that have gotten the best of me. I never need one but how does one say no when wondering how raspberry and Tabasco taste on a donut? (The answer is amazing!)

Then this past week as I was paying for my drink, I justified purchasing a timer so that I could continue to perfect my home brewing methods.  It was an additional $15 purchase, I justified two-fold that I needed it and it was helping the local economy.

Though we might use other terms like budgeting or time management, it is in spaces like coffee shops we are able to see how we actually flesh out stewardship in real time. Where and how we spend our money, time, and resources do send shock waves through every social sphere we are part of. Our decisions primarily affect ourselves, but they do influence our relationships and community, and some even have enough power to change the world. Look no further to the recent recession to see how individual’s decisions both good and bad have had their effect on the greater whole of the nation and the world. 

Deep down we know our individual stewardship cannot be disconnected from the stewardship of another.

Thinking on the societal climate and how simple choices like purchasing a cup of coffee can influence it is exhausting. Yet, the narrative that followers of Christ are invited into is one that engages the whole of creation – calling on us to be active participants in creating and stewarding the here and now well. This means taking ownership and responsibility of all of our decisions – big and small – and their effect on our lives, the lives of those we care about, and even those where we do not see the immediate impact. This also means calling and pulling the Church out of limiting talk of stewardship as simply tithing, a building campaigns, or money management. 

Whether you want to admit to it or not, you are engaging in stewardship right now. You could be doing a number of things but have chosen to take a few minutes to read this.  What you do after is another choice, what will it be?  Maybe the next right step is simply asking ourselves how can we be intentional about how we live our lives in each moment and in community? 

And some times that means saving the donut for later.

Adam Lorenz is a rider, a thinker, and a lifer. His passion and belief in the power of young people has led him to work with high school and emerging adults for the past 8 years and is currently serving as the Youth Minister at Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, MI. He is nearing the completion of his Master of Divinity at Western Theological Seminary and writes at Follow his daily thoughts on Twitter at @adamlorenz.