A few of my colleagues here at Compassion Australia decided to give up coffee this month. Why? We are all participating in a month-long campaign called FAST for FOOD.

If you drink at least a cup of coffee a day, the thought of fasting from coffee is probably pretty painful. But we weighed up the facts:

  • Firstly, it’s something they could live without . . . albeit sacrificially. For the first week of the fast, they had massive headaches and their bodies screamed for coffee 24-7. I felt their pain.
  • Secondly, a cup of coffee costs more than what some of the materially poor earn in an entire day. So the money we save as a part of the fast is then donated towards the Global Food Crisis fund.

We’re almost three weeks into the campaign and my colleagues have honored their commitment — not a single drop of coffee. They’ve also resigned themselves to the fact that it is still a luxury they would like to enjoy after FAST for FOOD.

Still, I respect their choice to wean from something that’s become a part of their daily lives, and that they choose to hunger for God when their bodies beg for caffeine. Although, I’ve found that the reward of abiding in Him is truly incredible. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” — Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

The Message phrases “hunger and thirst for righteousness” as to “[work] up a good appetite for God.” Clearly, our appetite for God doesn’t develop in the same way that our body naturally hungers and thirsts for food and drink. We need to make the decision to work it up.

The Amplified Bible defines righteousness as “uprightness and right standing with God.” Therefore, righteousness is a position where we know we are right with God. He promises to bless us if we seek to be right with Him in whatever circumstance we’re in.

Not only this, if we choose to focus on who He is rather than our circumstances, we would be “filled” (NIV). In other words we would be “blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous” (AMP<). 

No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, the principle to becoming "filled" remains the same. Like Apostle Paul, we could be content whether we live in plenty or in want (Philippians 4:12). But it is by choosing to seek a person rather than a thing that we learn contentment. Surely, when we’re filled with Him we’d be in a better place to give and bless those suffering in the Global Food Crisis, just as He fills us.

Ah, the joy of simple faith.

Irene Kao

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  1. Jim A
    Nov 19, 2008
    at 7:36 am

    Of all the things I would have thought to fast from, coffee would not be near the top of the list. I think the intentions here are fine as they address a habit and indeed often times an addiction. But let us not forget where this coffee comes from. Some of the most impoverished parts of the world have as their number one source of income, coffee farming. I doubt that this 1 month fast by CA will make much of an impact on the overall trade. But I’ll be sticking with my cup of FTO coffee.

  2. Sarah
    Nov 19, 2008
    at 7:37 am

    This is a great idea!

  3. Steve Dean
    Nov 19, 2008
    at 7:49 am

    That is a good idea.

  4. Nov 19, 2008
    at 5:35 pm

    It’s a great idea. I’ve been blogging FAST for FOOD every day this month so that others can follow along with the daily scriptures.

  5. Chelsea
    Nov 19, 2008
    at 7:27 pm

    Jim, please do not miss the heart behind this fast, it is not to deprive nations of precious income, but to give up something for a month (not necessarily coffee), donate the money saved, and use the cravings as a reminder to pray. For those of us who have become somewhat dependent on coffee these cravings come regularly. I hope you enjoy your cup of FTO coffee and I look forward to the end of the month, but until then I will continue to fast and pray for those who barely get food each day, let alone a good cup of coffee.

  6. Choe
    Nov 19, 2008
    at 7:50 pm

    We should not really loose sight of the reason why this fast is taking place. Whether it’s coffee, sugar, bread or an entire meal, each person is giving up something that for them is a necessary everyday thing. So I guess you could say that coffee or sugar could be an addiction, but let’s face it, so can food. Each individual’s fast symoblises what they know is something they cannot do without and whilst some may think that coffee is a little thing, you must also remember that it’s all relative. And as for coffee being the wage earners for millions of impoverished people, this argument only works if you are specifically talking about fair-trade. Millions slave away on coffee plantations to earn a pittance or if you are a child caught in slave labour, you earn absolutely nothing and probably get abused in the process. It’s the same for chocolate and for tea. In fact everything we eat is a wage earner for someone, so does that mean we shouldn’t fast food for a month? No it doesn’t. We are doing it because we don’t know what it’s like to go without and we just want to say to those who go without everyday that we care and that we understand.

  7. Nov 20, 2008
    at 6:19 am

    I just pulled up a little tidbit about coffee that I was going to ‘try’ to incorporate
    into my blog today. Here in the good ol USA, a 16 oz. cup of coffee at Dunkin Donuts costs $1.75. The article goes on to say that if you make your coffee at home your cost will be about $.55.

    “So what,” you say?

    By years end you will have saved $438.oo…enough money to sponsor a Compassion and buy yourself some donuts to go with that coffee we are now making at home.

    I hope I have not taken anything away from the purpose of the original post–perhaps for those who struggle with caffiene addiction can eliminate the ‘place’ where they normally obtain their coffee, rather then the actual coffee it’s self. Just a thought.

  8. Nov 24, 2008
    at 5:56 am

    Great idea! I’ll join you…at least until Thanksgiving.

    You said, “Clearly, our appetite for God doesn’t develop in the same way that our body naturally hungers and thirsts for food and drink.” I think we all do have a natural craving for God, but we can fill it with gods that only satisfy for the moment.

    We drift toward comfort, but it is not comfort that leads to greatness.

  9. Nov 24, 2008
    at 11:06 am

    Ah, my comfort is found in the truth of His Word

  10. Compassion Australia
    Nov 24, 2008
    at 5:38 pm

    That’s so true, Rich. Perhaps we sometimes don’t understand our spiritual hunger, and try to fill it with things that satisfy the physical / emotional …

  11. Nov 25, 2008
    at 2:23 pm

    This is so encouraging to read! We are challenging our members at Calvary Chapel Salt Lake City, friends and families to “Eat Simply” and “Consume Compassionately” and spend the money saved to feed a child! As we consider celebrating Christ’s birth, let’s give Him the gift of feeding His children!
    We would love feed back on our webpage that we are building:
    http://www.calvaryslc.org/Ministries/GlobalFoodCrisis/tabid/271/Default.aspx

  12. Nov 25, 2008
    at 8:34 pm

    A great idea – check out Mocha Club at https://www.mochaclub.org/mochaclub/welcome!

  13. Compassion Australia
    Nov 25, 2008
    at 11:00 pm

    Wow Kim, you have re-developed the Global Food Crisis campaign using your church’s website branding! Well done!! The rebranding would no doubt foster a sense of ownership within your church community! I pray that through this campaign your congregation will learn to give out of your heavenly inheritance. May the children be filled!

    Irene xoxo

  14. Heather
    Dec 12, 2008
    at 11:42 am

    I once calculated that if you only drank one starbucks a week you’d save enough money to sponsor a child :) :)

  15. Aug 6, 2013
    at 11:51 am

    Great idea. I thought of another one that maybe others have thought of…called Water for a Week…drink only water for a week (i did this recently and it was not that hard) to bring awareness and perhaps funds to support water projects in the global south.

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