I don’t know what it was that caught me: the coffee, the stars, the gold card; but whatever it was, Starbucks got me with their gimmick hook, line, and sinker. You register with one of their gift cards and set it up so that it automatically reloads – in other words you just keep putting money on it. Every time you use your card you get a star. Yeah, just like in kindergarten. Along certain intervals there are rewards. The big reward is at 30 stars. You get a gold card with your name on it. Well, I am now a gold card member and with the gold card and $4 I can get a fru-fru something latte. Yes, it was $4 before, but don’t bother me with details.
Anyway, I really got caught up going after this card and getting these stars. Every week I was planning what I would get and when. It takes some work to get 30 trips to Starbucks. One day, when I am on like star 21, I think to myself, “I am not near a Starbucks, but I am going to make this happen.” And I did. I pull into the Starbucks and I am walking toward the door and from the side I can see a lady also approaching the door. Being the southern gentleman that I am, I opened the door for her and let her go on in. Of course I was also thinking, “Shoot. She is taking my spot in line too.” So she orders her drink and then turns and says, “And I will buy whatever he is having.” Surprised, my first thought was, “Am I supposed to know her? Is she in our church?” And then she says she is buying the drink for me because I opened the door and let her have my spot in line. How sad a lady today thinks she has to reward a man for opening the door for her. I told her that I should open the door and that it did not mean she should buy my coffee. She insisted. So I ordered. She got her drink and left. I got my drink and was walking to my truck when it dawned on me, “Hey! I didn’t get my star! I don’t want a free drink! I want my star!” Yes, it was at this point that I realized I had a problem. I am on my 7th step at support group.
It is funny how we can get caught up chasing things. Sometimes it is silly and insignificant things, and sometimes it is not. We can be chasing real gold: a certain job, an accomplishment, an award. We are all chasing after something. I love the illustration Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 about athletes. He says look at the discipline they have and the work they do to capture a perishable wreath. In other words, look at all they do for something that doesn’t last. Now he is not mocking or making light of the perishable wreath. He is holding up their effort for something that doesn’t last and saying, “Shouldn’t our effort at that which does last equal theirs.” I started off the week thinking about how I was going to get a star. The athlete starts the week thinking about their training, their goals, and their nutrition. Do we start a week and think, “How can I pray more? Where am I going to be able to have a witness? What am I going to do this week that will affect eternity?” Paul isn’t saying don’t do anything perishable, but make sure that somewhere in your life you are going to do some things that will count forever. We are all going to think, “What do I need to do today?’ What do I have this week?” Are we going to think, “What am I doing that will last forever?” Certainly if the world can work so hard at that which does not last, we can do the same for that which does. BTW – I got my 30th start about a month ago. They still haven’t sent my “gold card”.