I suppose that I should be entering many more of these little pathways into my conscience if I am really to make any use of this blog page. Also, it’s kinda nice to just sit and record my thoughts and experiences that are otherwise bound for imminent forgetfulness.
My prayer is that God will continue to reveal His truth and glory in everyday circumstances, and that I am not to self-focused to miss what He may be trying to teach, because after all, He is always teaching isn’t He? I would like to think so.
Anyways, I am in line at the Starbucks near my office the other day standing behind a woman with long red hair pulled tightly in to a pony tail which stands out against her baby blue work out top. She has apparently already ordered as she stands there with drink in hand as she awaits who looks to be her mother to order. Out of an act of kindness, my work out ready friend decides to pay for her mother’s drink and as she reaches for her purse, her hand brushes against her drink teetering on the corner of the counter just enough to cause it to tip and spill over on to her matching baby blue work out pants as well as the floor.
Everyone just seems to stand there and stare.
First off, how embarrassing. I mean there she is, probably thinking she looks as cute as she can be, only to clumsily send her drink flying. But then, to make is worse, everyone just stares rather than helping her. Including the staff! So, in an act of instantaneous genius, I think, “What better time to be Jesus?” So I scurry over to the smorgasbord counter consisting of milk-like concoctions, enough sugar to send 12 middle schoolers into complete comas, and what looks to be many tongue compressors so that I may pick up a handful of napkins that would soon serve as my arsenal of sacrificial love towards my “neighbor”. However, once I return to perform this act of sacrificial love that will probably leave me feeling pretty good about myself for the rest of the day, an employee from Starbucks breaks through from the back room through those swinging doors with a ginormous role of paper towels which make my efforts of 5 napkins seem pretty lame. I hear a, “They’ve got it sir,” sound forth from the other employee standing behind the register. To make is worse, the baby blue work out woman didn’t acknowledge my efforts with a thank you, or smile, or even a nod of “Hey, thanks for trying.” So, I take my walk of shame back to the smorgasbord to return my what now seems to be my inadequate supply of napkins.
That’s not the end though. It’s just getting to the good part. So, I turn to make my way back to my spot in line only to find that 3 others have entered the line since the whole incident went down. I guess I was just so focused on my act of sacrificial love that I didn’t notice it. Anyways, I thought I would just slowly creep my way back to my spot in line and order my drink. Just as I approached my spot, one of the employees sets a cup down on the counter and says, “Grande Joya Del Dia” which just happened to be one of their limited time only culinary masterpieces at that time. The nicely dressed man with slicked back hair who had been right behind me the whole time approaches the counter with head town while giving me a very subtle peripheral glance with his left eye, which freaked me out a little, as he reached for his drink almost in shame. “That jerk!” I thought to myself. Couldn’t he see what an astounding act of kindness I just tried to perform and then he doesn’t even have the decency or time of day to wait for me to reenter my sport in line? “Punk!” Oh well, I will just slip in behind him since the other two obviously saw what I had just attempted to do and would surely grant me what Mr. I-am-more-important-than-you-because-my-job-doesn’t-consist-of-wearing-backwards-hats-with-shorts-and-flip-flops guy just so graciously denied me. Yet to my utter dismay, the who I thought was kind, warm hearted mother looking figure followed by who I swear was Santa Clause each took their respective steps forward only to leave me faced with last in line.
“Suck.” Didn’t any of these people just recognize what I had tried to do? I stood there pondering the moment and waiting for one of the employess who must have surely seen my aborted attempt at sacrificial love to any moment now call out saying, “Excuse me sir. Yes, you in the back. I saw what happened and realize you lost your place in line in the process because of these misfits. What would you like to drink? Oh, and it’s on the house.” I waited, and waited, and waited. In fact, I waited until I had reached the front of the line…again. “What would you like to drink sir?” the woman behind the counter asked.
Well it wasn’t all of the words I was expecting from what I had played out in my mind but I responded none the less. “Grande Ubora with a shot please.”
“So much for that,” I thought. But then I heard it. Above the soothing music pouring through the speakers, through the roar of the espresso machines, and more clear than other of the half dozen conversations taking place around me, I heard it. It was Him. There was no doubt that it was Him because it was gentle, yet piercing. It was soft, yet cutting. It was full of love, yet convicting. “You missed it that time. You thought you had it, but you missed it. It’s ok though. There’s a next time.” And that was it. Gentle, soft, and full of love, yet piercing, cutting, and convicting. What I thought was going to be an astounding act of sacrificial love that would leave employees, customers, the victim of the coffee spill, and God awestruck and stupified was nothing more than a cheap attempt to glorify myself while everyone had a first row seat.
In that moment God taught me what real sacrificial love and servanthood is all about. He did it by blessing me with the last spot in line. That last spot was graciously given with incredible intention. It gave God the chance to speak to me, for me to listen to His words, and for Him to grow me which He is always in the business of doing.
I had tried to project myself rather than Jesus. I tried to bring glory to myself rather than The Glorious One. I tried to make myself feel good rather than making myself nothing so others could see The One who is Good.
I have come to believe, and not just know, that God is good. God is gracious. God is love. And, that God is always in the process of transforming our lives. That is, of course, if we are paying attention.
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be. No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.
- the apostle Paul