For over 20 years I have worked out of my house – the water-cooler talk is boring, but the commute is great. I do visit customers all over the United States, but when I am not with them, I am in my home-office. I really love it, but I am also a people-person and I sometimes need interaction and a change of scenery. Over the years I have worked at a local drop-in office, in my truck, on my front porch, at a horse barn and, of course at the Starbucks down the street.
For the last few years, my “go to” has been the Starbucks. I would show up early in the morning, order my drink and pull out my Bible to read what I had planned for that day. After that I would work until around lunch time and then head home for the afternoon shift. I was at the Starbucks so often that I had a normal seat, had my pre-ordered drink waiting and I knew the ebbs and flows of the shop – when it was going to be busy, when shifts would change, when different groups were expected to show up and, of course, who the other regulars were. Along the way, I also gained a few acquaintances from the staff who would always greet me.
There were drawbacks of course. It was expensive because I would usually get a drink and that adds up. Depending on the day and time, it was pretty busy and loud which made conference calls impossible. It was also not what I would call a great place to connect with the words in my Bible. Finally, it was difficult to concentrate to write much and concentrate on work. Ultimately, I chose to abandon my long-time “port of call” and take refuge in the coffee shop “harbor” at my Church.
The “One Particular Harbor” at Church is much quieter with way fewer people. There is a similar ebb and flow of parents dropping kids off at pre-school and huddling Bible study groups, but I can easily take calls and have no problem doing work or writing. I have again gotten to know the staff as well – one even asked if I worked for the Church! Maybe most of all, it is a very serene place in which I feel much more connected to the Lord and my Bible. When I work there, I feel that my day is better and I almost always come away feeling energized. It has absolutely been great – a true refuge.
And then it happened. I dropped by the Starbucks today to grab something for my daughter and ran into one of my staff friends. “Hey, I miss seeing you – I look at the door whenever people come in and always look to see if it is you.”
How often had I talked about my Bible study to some random person at Starbucks? How many friends had I run into that I could re-connect with? How many people had seen me purposefully reading my Bible and taking notes – every day? Was my impact for the Kingdom bigger at Starbucks?
I write this from Starbucks – listening to a pop/rock song that is barely audible above the constant buzz of customer conversations after having talked to a former co-worker about Jesus for 10 minutes. I am not going to abandon my harbor, but I do need to show up in port more often.
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
– Romans 12:2
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
– Matthew 22:37-39
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
– Matthew 28:18-20
14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
– John 17:14–19