My favorite line in the movie The Usual Suspects is the one where Kevin Spacey says “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.”
This Christmas, the world has got some issues to deal with. Families living in poverty and starving for lack of a milk goat. The aftermath of Hurricane Patricia. But what are Christians upset about?
The Starbucks red cup.
I have a message for my fellow Christians – quit it. It is NOT Starbucks' responsibility to remind people that Christ was born to save us from our sins and reunite us to God. That responsibility belongs to the church and its members. It belongs to you. So really, you're upset that Starbucks isn't doing your job for you.
The red cup, to you, is a symbol of the fact that everywhere you look people are trying to avoid the story of Jesus, to take away its relevance. Guess what? That is not new. The world has never embraced Christ. John 1 says “10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
As Christians, we will always have to fight to keep the gospel relevant. Getting angry over the Starbucks red cup is not how you do it. It is a distraction. Distraction comes from the devil to keep you out of the real fight.
In Matthew 23, Jesus rebukes the teachers of the day by saying that they clean the outside of a cup, but leave the inside full of greed and self-indulgence. That they strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel. In other words, they were all about appearances, and because of that they were missing the point.
If you are upset about the Starbucks red cup, you are missing the point. Instead of focusing on the outside, think about what's on the inside. A four dollar cup of coffee that you can make for 20 cents at home. What if you took that money and instead bought a goat for a needy family in Botswana. Packed a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child. Donated to disaster relief. Here's a link to Samaritan's Purse, where you can do just that. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/
Instead of focusing on all the ways the world ignores the gospel, be a keeper of the gospel. Read the story of Christ's birth to your kids to remind them why you are celebrating this special season.
Don't let Satan distract you with little gnats when you've got camel-sized problems to deal with. Instead, keep your eyes on the work that God has tasked you to do.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”