Friday, January 12, 2007

Free Coffee!

This morning I had something happen to me that I've never experienced before. Because I had a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time, I needed an extra dose of caffeine. And what better place is there to get a strong dose of coffee than at Starbucks. It was raining, so I pulled through the drive-through instead. When I made it up to the window, I had my money in hand and ready to go. Emily (I think that was her name) told me that I was all set. The driver in front of me had paid for my coffee. The message that Emily gave to me from the driver was "Have a nice day!" Even now, I'm a little speechless and unsure of what to say.

I wanted to find this person so that I could thank them, but to be honest with you, it was dark and I wasn't paying any attention to who was in front of me. The car was a dark color - that's all I remember. As I was driving away, I quickly perused the parking lot looking for this person. He or she was apparently gone.

The thing that strikes me about this is that he or she didn't expect anything back in return. I didn't get a business card or anything. There is no way, as far as I can tell, how I could ever track down this person to thank them. Maybe if I was paying attention I could have gotten their license plate, but as I mentioned, that was the last thing on my mind. This person chose to bless me with a free cup of coffee expecting nothing in return. Writing and thinking about this still sounds weird.

I don't know if this person was a Christian or not but this is precisely what one might expect from someone that professes the Christian faith. Doing something like this to a neighbor, a friend, or as in this case, a complete stranger, is a random act of kindness that speaks volumes. I'm a believer and this speaks loud and clear to me. As Christians, we should be different. We should be doing things that show others how Christ is making a difference in our lives. Matthew 5:16 comes to mind: "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." In a book that I'm reading along with the leadership of the church, titled The Church of Irresistable Influence, it talks about the need for Christians to offer compelling proof. Our lives should build bridges of proof to the outside world around us. The authors then go on to make this rather startling point:

"If we [Christians] can't outlive the world at every point - in our marriages, with our children, at work, with money, in our relationships, in the use of our time - why dare to speak of salvation and the abundant life. Incarnation of the Word must precede and empower the proclamation of the Word. "

What are you doing that is building bridges of proof? How are you living your life so as to show others that you are different? The good news is that you and I can start building bridges of proof even today. After all, with coffee spots like Starbucks and others rising in popularity, the coffee is always on!