Lesson in a Mug

Months ago, I was in a local Starbucks and while standing in line I was visually perusing the nearby shelf of merchandise. A mug caught my eye and I decided quickly that this particular mug would be a nice addition to my collection. I filed that thought away and thought “I’ll think about it.” so as not to fall victim to the impulse buy.

It wasn’t until a few visits later that I decided to make my purchase and call that mug my own. The handle was large and comfy, the color of the mug was just right, and size of the mug was optimal, the base of the mug was rubberized, and the lid was easy to operate. An all-around winner, to be sure.

But then something happened. After getting it home and pouring coffee into it, I quickly learned that all was not well. The handle was still comfy, the base was still rubberized, the color was still appealing. The problem with this mug? It couldn’t keep my coffee hot to save its life (if it had one). It was freaky. It was almost as if it somehow repelled heat. Seriously. If you want your coffee cooled quickly to a tepid nastiness, this is the mug for you.

You got me, Starbucks. You drew me in with appearance but let me down with substance. And if you’ve ever read my blog in the past, you know I see a spiritual truth in here. To me, its fairly obvious.

In the condition of the Church at-large today, and perhaps even in the lives of the individuals that make up that Church, there’s an attraction to what looks new, or cool, or on-trend, or comfortable. But once you step in, you realize that not only does it not stoke the heat of our spiritual passion, it aids in cooling that fire. The longer we stay in a place based on comfort or outward appeal, the more likely we are to experience that cooling effect. The brutal truth: God didn’t create us to strive for our own comfort.

So, when it comes to spiritual community, worship practices, and how we grow in our faith, the question to ask is not “how does that look and how does that make me feel?” but rather “what will this do to the spiritual flame of my faith?”

Tell me what you think. Am I making something out of nothing? Is there a truth I’m missing? Am I mistaken here? What does your favorite mug look like?