More Than Just a Cup of Coffee


When asked what he does, my painter friend, Sherwin Tan, would always say, he brings peace with his art. The answer seems to be far from what he does because the fact is, he is a painter. But then for him, painting is more than just canvas and paint. He pours himself into his work. Out of the abundance of his heart, he paints.

How he defines his art makes a lot of difference to him and his customers. Imagine for instance if his answer will simply be, that he paints and sells them for money. He will not be distinguished from others who do the same thing to earn a living. He offers something that goes beyond what money can buy. He puts his heart into his business. People buy from him not only a canvas with paint, but something that enhances peace in their homes.

Indeed, people who buy his paintings say they feel a different kind of peace whenever they look at his painting. When Sherwin paints, he draws inspiration from the Prince of Peace, Jesus. Thus, even as he paints, he feels a different kind of peace.

Let’s say you own a coffee shop. If people ask you what you do, you might say, “I sell coffee.”, which makes you just like every other coffee shop owner. But, if let’s say you are the kind of person who enjoys helping people perk up their day, you might say you make people happy by perking up their day. It goes beyond a cup of coffee. You care about how a person starts their day and that makes a huge difference. Your definition also dictates how your staff prepares the coffee and treats your customers. They serve your customers with a smile, with energy, and attention because they do not just serve coffee, but they also make people happy. You make a difference in people’s lives because you don’t just put ground coffee beans into a cup of hot water, add other ingredients and get paid. Your love for people and your desire to make them happy goes with your service and product. Even the way your shop is designed is affected by the way you look at your business. Customers can feel that you are not just after their money.

David was an insignificant shepherd boy. Being the youngest, he was not even respected by his older brothers. When God chose him and he was anointed king, David’s view of himself changed. He slew the giant Goliath with a sling shot and made history. Soon, this king won a lot of battles. How God saw David affected how he viewed himself, which in turn determined his actions and his success.

We can learn a lesson from this. God did not just call us into the marketplace to make money. He called us to stand out. Just like David, we can do this by first acknowledging that it is more than making money. A change in perspective can shift the definition of our business to something beyond the ordinary. Customers look for more than the physical product or the service. They look for the intangibles that money cannot buy.

We all think of money whenever we do business. But where our focus is, is what matters. We want the money, the reward for our labor, but it gives us more joy when we put ourselves into what we are doing. What we are goes into the product or service that customers buy.

We can look at our business only as a means for us to get rich and forget what our customers need. We can also look at our business as a means to serve and keep on improving, which brings more customers. Chase money and it will fly away. Serve your customers and money will chase you.


“Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.”

-Proverbs 23:5


I pray that your business will be more than making money, giving glory to God who called you into the marketplace.