Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Starbucks Grace

I wonder what thoughts crossed your mind when you read the title of this blog post.  (This is, of course, assuming you actually read the title.)  Did you picture me at Starbucks, praying over my Caramel Apple Cider and Pumpkin Scone before I started to indulge in my yummy treats?  Did you imagine I had an encounter with a barista named Grace?  Or did you picture someone extending grace to me while I was at Starbucks?

If you picked question #3, then you are correct.  One definition of grace is God's unmerited favor.  And Charles Spurgeon wrote an entire book on this concept of grace.  http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Gods-Unmerited-Favor-SPURGEON/dp/0883684039  The definition of grace I use with my boys is that grace is getting something they don't deserve.  And last Friday at Starbucks, my boys and I experienced grace in action.  Let me explain.

While running an errand with my boys, I decided to stop by Starbucks en route.  There was a very specific reason for this particular Starbucks visit.  We were visiting my friend who recently started working at this location.  When my boys and I arrived at the counter to order, we were greeted by the friendliest baristas.  Notice that was plural... not only was my friend delighted to have us there, but her co-workers were too.  They chatted with my boys, took our orders, and since we were fortunate enough to arrive right as my friend was taking her break, the four of us headed outside to enjoy our drinks.

The boys quickly chose the loveseat and ottoman/table, so my friend and I sat at the table right next to them.  As we chatted, my four year old continued to inform me that his hot chocolate was too hot.  So, I tested it... and it was luke warm.  But in an effort to get him to drink it, I decided to leave the top off so it would cool faster.  I wonder if you know where this story is going...

I quickly discovered that leaving the top off was a BIG mistake.  Within a minute, the hot chocolate spilled all over the wicker ottoman and the concrete patio.  Did I mention that it was a full cup of hot chocolate?  Yep, it went everywhere.  Somehow he had managed to not get any on him... so that was a blessing.  I was not too happy about this, but I also recognized that I contributed to this mess by taking off the lid.  So, I picked up the cup, explained that this was his only hot chocolate and that he would not be able to get another one, and went inside to gather some napkins and to ask for a giant cup of water to clean off the table and patio.

I got the napkins first, then stopped by the counter to request a big cup of water.  When I explained what happened, the two baristas were so kind.  They did not roll their eyes.  They did not let out a huge sigh.  Instead, they told me not to worry about it at all... and then... drum roll please... they offered to clean it up for me!  My reaction:  Are you sure?  And they said yes... and didn't even give me the cup of water.  I was shocked!  The mess my son and I created was greeted with a smile and cleaned up by someone who didn't cause it.  What a blessing!

But that's not even the best part of the story.  While the barista was using the giant cup of water to flush some of the hot chocolate into the concrete cracks, a second barista appeared with another hot chocolate for my son.  The look on my son's face was priceless.  His eyes lit up.  He couldn't believe it... and I was surprised too!  I hadn't asked for another hot chocolate.  Yet they provided another one anyway.  And as the barista handed it to my son, he pointed out that this hot chocolate was even bigger than his original one.  How's that for some unmerited favor?  We spilled the hot chocolate we paid for, made a huge mess, and ended up with a bigger hot chocolate and not having to clean up after ourselves.  Incredible!  This quickly became my favorite Starbucks ever!

Phillip Yancey describes true grace as shocking and scandalous in his book "What's so Amazing about Grace?"  And my boys and I experienced a taste of shocking grace through the kindness of the Starbucks baristas.  Have you ever experienced grace like this?  Can you describe it?  Picture it?  Feel it?  How did you respond?  Can you relive the details like I just shared with you?

Grace makes an impact on our lives.  And God offers us grace on a much grander scale.  Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life and then died on the cross.  Three days later, He rose from the dead.  And when we invite Jesus into our hearts as Lord and Savior, He cleans up our mess:

Ephesians 2:4-10

New International Version (NIV)
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

 And the most scandalous, shocking part of His grace is He gives us eternal life, which we completely don't deserve.  It truly is God's unmerited favor given to us.

John 3:16

New International Version (NIV)
16 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. 

Maybe you need some grace today.  Maybe your mess needs to be cleaned up by Jesus, who can do a much better job than you can on your own.  Let Hebrews 4:15-16 encourage you:

Hebrews 4:15-16

New International Version (NIV)
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Go ahead... approach the throne of grace with confidence.  Receive the grace and mercy that Jesus offers.  And relish in the unmerited favor that He lavishes on you. 

No comments:

Post a Comment