When a Cup Becomes More Important Than the Person Who Is Handing It to You

red coffee

I really like coffee. There’s nothing quite like that first cup in the morning or wrapping my hands around a warm mug on a cold day and sipping on it’s hot contents.

That being said, I’m really not an avid Starbucks coffee drinker. And although I haven’t agreed with every statement or viewpoint that Starbucks has held, the reason I don’t frequently drink their coffee is simply because it’s not my favorite kind of coffee.

I’m not boycotting or advocating. Every person has the right to decide whether or not they will walk into a Starbucks and spend their time and money there.

But maybe you’ve seen the video that is spreading across social media like digital wildfire. It was made by a man who noticed this year’s Starbucks cups are simply red—void of any kind of festive decoration—saying it is a direct attack from Starbucks on Christmas. He decided to go in to Starbucks, buy a drink and tell the barista that his name was “Merry Christmas” so that the greeting would have to be written on the cup.

He says that he’s not boycotting, but starting a movement and calls for “all great americans and christians around this great nation” to join that movement. And at the end of the video he speaks directly to Starbucks saying, “just to offend you, I made sure to wear my Jesus Christ shirt into your store and since you hate the second amendment, I even carried my gun.” (There’s a link to his video at the bottom of this post.)

Now, I’m all about speaking up for those who don’t have a voice, for fighting against injustices and for banding together through persecution. But as believers, we need to be able to discern what are actual battles and what is actual persecution. We have to know the difference between a cause that deserves our action and is worthy of our voice—or simply a differing opinion that is trivial.

I have a hard time envisioning Jesus walking into a Starbucks and trying to figure out how to prank or trick the person behind the counter—looking directly in the barista’s eyes and whispering, “Followers of Jesus say ‘what?’” When the barista falls for his clever trick by asking “What?”, he responds, “Ha ha! I got you! You just confessed that you follow me!”

Now that’s how you get someone to confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord, right?

I know my example is extreme and ridiculous and is dripping with sarcasm. My point is this, Jesus would not trick anyone into anything. Period. Seriously, it’s nonsense. So if we say we desire to be Christ-like, then let’s be like Christ. I have to wonder how many baristas have laid awake at night because of this “movement” and thought to themselves, “Gee, writing ‘Merry Christmas’ on that cup today really got me thinking about eternity. I think I’ll start learning more about this Jesus guy.”

From what I’ve learned about the heart and character Jesus Christ through God’s Word, I think it’s much more likely that he would have been getting to know the barista behind the counter—listening to his/her story. He would have been so focused on their heart that I don’t think he would have cared or even noticed whether or not a coffee cup said Merry Christmas on it…

Because Jesus was about people, not making political or religious statements.

When a cup becomes more important than the person who is handing it to you, we’ve completely missed the mark. Having an “I’ll show them” attitude towards the high-up executives sitting in offices far, far away by tricking or indifferently interacting with the person directly behind the counter does not make sense. Whether or not you support Starbucks, the baristas that will make your coffee had nothing to do with a cup’s design or creating company policies. Many are just trying to work and make a paycheck for themselves and their families.

If Christ had the attitude of “since you’ve offended me, I’m going to intentionally offend you”, the Gospel would look very different. In fact, it wouldn’t exist.

May we never fall for the lie that says being a “good conservative” = being a “good christian” or vice versa. Wearing a shirt with the image of Jesus on it does not mean we are truly bearing his image. And our opinion on gun control doesn’t determine how holy we are.

What makes us Christ-followers is how well we love others. It’s relationships and service and truth in love. It’s looking at the person, not their past. Loving them where they’re at, not where they’ve been. It’s accepting a person as an image bearer of God himself. And that’s when hearts change, lives transform and truth is revealed.

Fight for what lasts and what matters for eternity. Love well and don’t be easily offended by things that simply don’t matter. The world is full of hurting, hopeless and hungry people who desperately need an encounter with the love of Jesus. Let’s go to those people. That is time and energy and love well spent.

Watch the video here.

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