Hit Me with Your Best Shot

Ever feel like God is
targeting a certain message right at you? It can be scary, but I love when that
happens. It reminds me that I have a personal God, not just a rule book from an
out-of-touch deity.
Yesterday I had to choose a
new book of the Bible to start reading for my morning Bible reading time. Like
most people, I tend to gravitate toward books I love for their practical
application (Do this! Be this kind of person! Avoid that!) or at least to
shorter books so I can feel I’ve accomplished something. And okay, usually the
New Testament because, hey, all that talk of animal sacrifice and wars can get
downright wearisome. 
I’d just finished Mark, the
shortest Gospel, to be sure, but still longer than most of the Epistles. Prior
to that I had read the Psalms—great for the emotions I was dealing with as Mom
became ill and was, as the Salvation Army says, “promoted to glory.”
So where to now?
For some reason (God, I’m
guessing), I was drawn to Isaiah. Old Testament, 66 chapters, lots of prophecy
(hate that) and curses. What was I thinking?
Well, God was thinking. In
chapter one I came across these 3- to 4-word power-packed punches:
Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Seek justice,
Reprove the ruthless,
Defend the orphan,
for the widow.
They come right after God
tells the people he’s kind of sick of their sacrifices and religious traditions
himself. “Straighten up!” he says, and then gives them these specifics.
It struck me that learning
to do good, and seeking justice are intentional, conscious choices. It’s not
going to happen when I am operating in default mode. I need to choose.
And it occurred to me that
meant choosing harder, more expensive and less convenient things like fair-trade
chocolate and tea. Could I justify the extra expense?
I picked up my devotional
book (Praying the Names of God by
Ann Spangler) and heard God laugh. In talking of Christ being our Lord, it
read, “Instead of striving to do what we want when we want, we will strive to
do what God wants when he wants. As we do, we will begin to understand that his
lordship will not diminish or impoverish us but that it will bless us in
surprising ways.”
Okay, okay, I get it. Later
in the day, I went to Ten Thousand Villages to pick up my fair-trade tea. Um,
harder than I thought. No decaf (which accounts for more than half the tea I
drink). And only small quantities of regular tea, not the bulk bags I need.
The salesperson suggested
I try Equal Exchange online. That led to a futile hour-and-a-half Internet
quest. And now I am overwhelmed. First, very little decaf black fair-trade tea is
available in the U.S. Second, the names of all the teas are very complicated; I
have no idea what translates to the equivalent of basic Lipton tea. (Blah, blah, blah; yes, I know how much better the fancy-schmancy tea will supposedly taste.) 
Third, it
is very expensive. (I know, I am not supposed to worry about obedience
“impoverishing” me, but when you go from a gallon of iced tea costing you about
40¢ to it costing between $1.60 to $4.80, that’s a huge difference. Especially
if you drink at least a half-gallon a day as I do.) And finally, what is
available is loose, not bagged tea. So now I have to deal with shlepping tea
Not sure what I’m going to
do. (Drink more water?) If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know.
In the meantime, I’m asking God to continue to be personal and lead me to the right
tea. Is that too much to ask? (And don’t even get me started on the chocolate.)

2 thoughts on “Hit Me with Your Best Shot”

  1. Thanks for the recommendation! They do have a decaf tea, although my decaf iced tea will cost $4 a gallon (at least that's cheaper than when I order tea at a restaurant). At first I couldn't find anything about fair-trade on the site, but then I saw a reference saying they "go beyond fair trade." So I guess that means they are meeting the standards without the certification?

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