The digital ‘conversation’ for the last 48 hours is about a guy who thinks that a national coffee chain is terrible because the cups they are using this Christmas are just red with no “Christmas” designs on them. One of the guys running for President picked up on the theme and declared that when he is President, “We will all say ‘Merry Christmas’ again!” Oh, my dear Christian friends, with all the sin and suffering in the world, is the design of a coffee cup or even the fact that a company refuses to have employees say “Merry Christmas” the thing on which we should ‘take a stand?’ Terrorists are killing people. Refugees are living in squalor. Sex slaves are being traded around the world, including in these United States. Racism is making a resurgence. Corruption is creating injustice.
And, God has entrusted the Gospel of Christ to us. This Gospel has the power to transform people and cultures, but it is not about coffee cups or Christmas greetings. It is about the Cross of Christ that invites us to ‘die to Self,’ and to serve as He did; sacrificially, without any regard to His own comfort or ‘respect.’
Christians are confusing what they find comfortable within the cultural framework with what is ‘right’ in the eyes of God. Daniel Williams, writing in Christianity Today (9/2007) wisely reminds us that – “if the cleanliness of our home is more important than housing needy children, or if we follow the dictates of our career over the covenant of our marriage. Regarding things as more important than they are is what leads to obsessiveness, possessiveness, or oppressiveness.” Do you see his parable? Can you grasp it?
Let’s pray humbly making this our request – “God, break my heart with those things that break Yours.” Let us seek God for a real spiritual reawakening that starts in us, making us forget ourselves, that leads us to radically serve, to love others so intensely that Jesus radiates from our lives as we care for those who are least, as we visit the aged, as we love those who are confused, as we give our stuff to those who are in need, and quietly drink our coffee from red cups that have no reindeer printed on them as we give thanks for our privileged existence that allows us to pay $4 for a cup of coffee.
Please, dear Christian, let us spend a long time pondering, prayerfully, our response to ‘the world’ lest we make fools of ourselves (and not in the best way) by majoring on minors! If the Devil cannot tempt us with gross sin, he will settle for making us totally ineffective in the Lord’s work by getting us sidetracked into personal crusades that reflect our prejudices and preferences. Causes worthy of intense debate are few! Why is it that those outside of the Church can see our obsession, but so many of us cannot?
Here is a word from the Word. With my whole heart I plead with you to read it slowly, prayerfully, asking God for insight and acceptance.
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, NIV) “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God.” (2 Corinthians 6:3-7, NIV)
The universal Rule Jesus laid down for all Believers is two-fold and yet encompasses everything we do:
“Love God whole-heartedly, and love others intensely!” May His grace preserve us from debates about things that matter so little. Amen.