The current controversy over Starbuck‘s red cups for the holiday season 2015 has grown to gargantuan proportions on the internet; however, I’m not going to add to the discussion. In fact, I wasn’t even aware of it’s existence until this morning when I fired up my smartphone and a headline regarding the controversy over the cups was on my news feed. I Googled it to see what I had missed and, fortunately, ran into an article that pretty much sums up my feelings about the controversy, written by Laura Turner, and titled, “Starbucks Red Cups, and the Internet Outrage Machine,” (published on November 10, 2015).
I would imagine that many folks who consider themselves to be Christian (and many who don’t, too) woke up this morning just like I did–ignorant of the controversy brewing (no pun intended) over some red cups that Starbucks is using for the holiday season this year. However, the whole matter does brings up the subject of what, exactly, does matter to us? And I don’t think red cups should be at the top of the list. . . or even at the bottom of it. Or, in fact, anywhere on the list.
In an ironic twist, I picked up a morning devotional book by A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) titled, “Mornings with Tozer“ (published by Moody Publishers; 1991, 2008), which is a book I had been neglecting for a while but not for any particular reason. The devotion I turned to this morning (which actually happens to be the devotion for tomorrow but I didn’t realize it until after I read it) is titled, “What Really Matters?” And here is what Tozer had to say:
What Really Matters?
“What does a man get for all the toil and anxious striving with which he labors under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 2:22, NIV)
It is all but impossible these days to get people to pay any attention to things that really matter. The broad cynic in our modern civilization is likely to ask: “What really matters, after all?”
It is our personal relationship to God that really matters!
That takes priority over everything else, for no man can afford to live or die under the frowning displeasure of God. Yet, name one modern device that can save him from it. Where can a man find security? Can philosophy help him? Or psychology? Or science? Or atoms or wonder drugs or vitamins?
Only Christ can help him, and His aid is as old as man’s sin and man’s need.
A few other thing matter to be sure. We must trust Christ completely. We must carry our cross daily. We must love God and our fellow man. We must fulfill our commission as ambassadors of Christ among men. We must grow in grace and in the knowledge of God and come at last to our end like a ripe shock of corn at harvest time.
These are the things that really matter!
Prayer: Lord, the world tells me that fitness and finances are the measure for success and happiness. But I know in my heart that my personal relationship with You is the one thing in my life that really matters!
Red cups don’t matter, and they shouldn’t even be on the list of things that matter, either, at any time of the year. So what is at the bottom of our need to take up causes that just don’t matter, like red cups at Starbucks? We all do it from time to time and it’s not just about red cups, either, or the other “causes” that aren’t really causes except for the fact that they bring out the “thin skin” in all of us, which is not a very attractive feature on any of us . . . just sayin’ 🙂
Back to Tozer’s devotional book cited above–three pages later, on November 15, Tozer makes the following statement:
Answering God’s Call
“The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel, Samuel.” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (I Samuel 3:10, NIV)
When will men and women realize that when God calls us out, He is completely faithful to call us into something better?
In his faith Abraham was against idolatry and idol making, but that was not his crusade. Because of his faith, God led him into a promised land, into possessions and into the lineage that brought forth the Messiah. The call of God is always to something better–keep that in mind!
God calls us into the joys and reality of eternal life. He calls us into purity of life and spirit, so that we may acceptably walk with Him. He calls us into a life of service and usefulness that brings glory to Himself as God. He calls us into the sweetest fellowship possible on this earth–the fellowship of the family of God!
If God takes away from us the old, wrinkled, beat-up dollar bill we clutch so desperately, it is only because He wants to exchange it for the whole federal mint, the entire treasure! He is saying, “I have in store for you all the resources of heaven. Help yourself!”
Prayer: What a wonderful God we serve! You are looking out for our very best. Lord, help me to loosen my hold on the things that are blocking the path of Your blessings.
And it is that “loosening the hold” on all of the things in our lives that we desperately cling to that is blocking us from receiving His blessings and the life He would have for us. We let the lust for power or prestige, reputation, relationships, money, possessions, accolades, jealousy, envy, coveting what others have that we want, etc., (that list is endless)–that we cling to so tenaciously–strangle the life out of our relationship with God. And we often try to manipulate our way to get our own blessings (as in what we want) because they mean more to us then God does.
In between those two devotions is a third devotion for November 14 titled, “Too Much ‘At Home’,” and here is what Tozer had to say in it:
Too Much “At Home”
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. . . and admitted that they were aliens and strangers on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13, NIV)
One of the most telling indictments against many of us who comprise our Christian churches is the almost complete acceptance of the contemporary scene as our permanent home!
We have been working and earning, getting and spending, and now we are enjoying the creature comforts known to human beings in this land. You may bristle a bit and ask: “Is there anything wrong with being comfortable?”
Let me answer in this way: If you are a Christian and you are comfortably “at home” in Chicago or Toronto, in Iowa or Alberta or any other address on planet earth, the signs are evident that you are in spiritual trouble.
The spiritual equation reads like this: The greater your contentment with your daily circumstances in this world, the greater your defection from the ranks of God’s pilgrimage en route to a city whose architect and builder are God Himself!
If we can feel that we have put down our roots in this present world, then our Lord still has much to teach us about faith and attachment to our Savior!
Prayer: Lord, although I live at a local address, I pray that You will help me be a globally minded Christian and that my heart will beat with Yours for this lost world.
If every possession we have, every person we call friend, every family member, as well as our careers and/or our retirement plans, or our homes, and whatever else it is that takes up so much of our time and efforts, suddenly disappeared out of our lives, would we still believe in and cling to God (through our relationship with Jesus Christ) as the very source of our life? Would we believe that even in the worst of times He still knows what is best for us? Or do we cling to those “things” thinking they are our “proof” that He exists and that He loves us, and that we have somehow “arrived” by the acquisition of those things or during our constant chase after those things in this life? For the Christian, this material world that we live in is not our home. And the Bible makes that powerfully clear from beginning to end.
Jesus stated in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
1 John 2:15-16 (MSG) states, “Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.”
During the upcoming holiday season with all of its festivities, activities, parties, and gift buying and giving, let’s not lose sight of what really matters . . . .
And red cups don’t matter . . .
Only Jesus matters . . . .
For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son
into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him
is not condemned,
but whoever does not believe
stands condemned already
because they have not believed
in the name of God’s
One and Only Son
YouTube Video: “Revelation Song” by Phillips, Craig & Dean: