Coffee Can Theology

The coffee can is storage for multiple items; its diversity is far reaching.

My mom had a print by a Tennessee artist, Lee Roberson, called Home Sweet Home.  A robin is building a nest in an old Maxwell House coffee can.  God’s creatures even find uses for those discarded cans.  My dad had a line of those cans in his workshop.  Nuts, bolts, nails, big screws, little electrical gadgets, and even grease rags were just a few of the mysterious things Dad tucked into those cans.  For some reason, my Dad seemed to know the contents of those cans even though he did not label them.

It may be in the DNA or something, but I can’t seem to part with an empty coffee can.  Like my Dad, I seldom mark what is inside of them either. Sometimes a lid disappears but there is always use for the can anyhow.  The plastic coffee containers just do not have the charm of the metal ones so I relegate them to small cleaning buckets.

Dad could ask me to go into the workshop and bring me the can third from the left, and he would know what he was getting.  If only we could be that dependable in our Christian walk.  Jesus said that we would be known, not from the outside, but from the abundance of the heart.  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abundance of his heart his mouth speaketh.” (Luke 6:45, Matthew 12:34)

The outside of the can was not as important as to what was inside the can.  Sometimes Dad did know it would be the blue can, second from the end, for instance, but most of the cans were about the same size and same brand.  He knew what he would find inside. It might be a dry wall nail, or a roofing nail, or electrical tape.  When we are known to be a Christian, the container needs to hold speech that is honoring to God.  Don’t surprise your listening neighbors with hate speech, or critical words that cause shame.

While it is important to bear a testimony of purity on the outside, let’s make sure we bear testimony from within.  Of course, God expects us to be pleasing to Him, and in doing so, we will be pleasing to others. We will bear the expected product. God knows what is in the can; there is no wisdom in trying to hide anything from Him.



  1. “Coffee Can Theology” I like this a lot!!!!!! Take Care and God Bless 🙂 Kenny T

  2. For Terry, it’s empty mayo jars–transparent, so he can see what’s in each one. Loved this, Karyl. You continue to come up with practical spiritual truth.

  3. Glenda

    I still have an old coffee can of my grandmother’s! She kept her sewing supplies in it, and even though I rarely open it, it’s still around! I also hate throwing them out, but am such a pack rat that I grudgingly dispose of them. I keep our coffee in the freezer, and when I buy a new can or bag (depending on what kind of price I find), I empty it into the plastic jug because of the durability and the fact that it won’t rust. There is probably a spiritual lesson in that, too…..our testimony should be secure and long-lasting, with nothing to taint it, regardless of what happens in our lives. Thank you for reminding us of another important truth from a simple object! 🙂

    • Oh, the lids! Once I use a coffee can to where it must be disposed, I never toss the lid. If you put it on the bottom of the can, you eliminate rust too. I prefer to paint out of a coffee can when doing trim work. And I give away cookies in the large coffee cans. So useful.

  4. I’m going to re-blog tomorrow if that is ok with you?

    • Certainly. I need to make a correction on a contraction. Thanks for the warning!

  5. Reblogged this on Morning Story and Dilbert.

  6. I love the analogy. God bless!

  7. We CAN do it with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

  8. I have nominated your for the Versatile Blogger Award

    Love your posts…ME and the Boss

    • I am honored. Thank you. I am such a novice. Now, I’m not sure what to do next, but I do see that you have some helps. Most of all, I want people to think about a relationship with Jesus. You have encouraged me.

  9. I would like to reblog as well!!! You make me look at coffee cans differently now 🙂 I feel the same way about Mason Jars. I believe my grandfather always had these around. It’s cool how something so inexpensive can bring back such a rich memory. I will be reblogging and linking to you if it’s ok 🙂

    • Certainly, you are welcome to reblog. The more we share, the more readers we can inspire. “Not I, but the life . . . I live by the faith of the Son of God. . .” Gal 2:20

  10. Dear Sir:
    I am very pleased to comment on this article keep up the good work do not discuss doctrine, with CHRIST there is no need for dogma or denominations they are to excessive.
    Paul D. Hudon

  11. restingintheword

    This was a great compliment to my devotions this morning, I love hearing people reminisce about their parents or grandparents and finding a way to braid Gods lessons into everyday life.

    • Thank you. My good friend who is also a biology teacher sees God in everything!

  12. gwenlovelace

    You and I write in very similar terms. I often write about very simplistic, everyday events that remind me of Scripture and the Lord’s Goodness in each of our lives. Sometimes, pointing out the very “mundane” events that we often do on auto-pilot and their relation to our walk with Christ is great meditation. Thank you for the analogy of the coffee cans – it is so very true! God’s blessings to you!

    • Thank you for your comment. The Beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” actually means, “see God in everything.” At least, I like to think so!

      • gwenlovelace

        Amen Sister! I will lift you up in prayer, that you may continue to see God’s Hand in even the most simplistic things in life. Have a wonderful day!

  13. And baby food jars! What a wonderful analogy! I love how your post has a nostalgic mood while teaching a deep, spiritual lesson. Thank you so much!

    • Thank you. I like to think that God has so uniquely put things together that when we see His hand in things, we need to say so! Welcome to this site. I hope that I can be a blessing in the future too.

  14. Oh, excellent! I grew up near a garage workshop with a coffee can organizational theme. This made me smile! And I greatly appreciate the connection to faith. Well done! sharing this on facebook and twitter!

    • Thank you for sharing it also on Facebook among your friends. Bless you!

  15. This is <3. What a reminder for us. 🙂

  16. I also have a terrible time parting with empty coffee cans. They always seem so full of opportunity! What could I use them for? I wonder if God ever thinks of us that way – full of opportunity – we just need to be filled by Him so we can make full use of our opportunities.


  1. Coffee Can Theology Reblog « muffins&mocha

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