Do you believe there is a spiritual lesson to be learned in every situation? I do. I think it's there if we only take the time look for it. And what happened at a Denny's restaurant two days ago is a prime example.
I attend a small men's accountability group every Saturday morning at a Denny's restaurant. We eat breakfast; do a Bible study; confess and encourage; and basically do what the Word calls “iron sharpening iron”. Yesterday I came into the restaurant with my friend Lyndy Phillips. (side note: He may be the best motivational speaker in the world. Hire him to come speak to your group. Info here) I took a seat at the usual place where I have been sitting for years: a u-shaped booth at the back of the restaurant. The waitress asked us if we wanted coffee. Lyndy declined. I gave her the usual nod of approval. And minutes later, sitting in front of me was a cup of piping hot coffee. I drank, talked, laughed, and shared like I usually do. I didn't even notice the stares two of my friends were giving to my coffee cup.
|Actual Denny's Photo|
Apparently on one side of the cup was a “USO”: unidentified stuck object. To this day there is quite a debate on what the object was. I think it was a booger. Others guessed everything from a scrap of hardened egg to a bit of human flesh. But the icing on this grotesque cake was the lipstick on the other side of the cup at the top. A beautiful lip-shaped Cover Girl pink crescent hung like a wreath of feminine victory. It was at the exact place that had been drinking. And no, I do not wear women's lipstick to a men's group, so it definitely wasn't mine. It obviously belonged to the previous recipient of that glass. It had just not been cleansed properly of the former “things”. I pushed it away, never again to touch my lips.
So what kind of biblically spiritual lessons can we take away from a boogered-up Denny’s coffee cup?
Well, for one: If you are truly born again, your cup has gone through the dishwasher and has been rinsed clean from God's perspective. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 1Cor 5:17 You are a new cup. So why do we act sometimes like the booger on the cup, the lipstick on the rim, or the “turd in the punchbowl”? Because we have to cleanse our hearts and purify our lives. We need to keep the cup of our lives clean. We have to scrub the hardened sin spots that have been caked on through persistent use in our previous lives. Old habits die hard. And the things I still struggle with daily to eliminate from my life are the very things I have spent most of my life doing over and over. “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Prov 27:17 I need my friends to be human Brillo pads. I need them to help scrub me clean of the deception and dysfunctions I have accumulated through years of living a sin lifestyle.
Another great lesson comes from this scripture: “We do not live for ourselves only, and we do not die for ourselves only.” Romans 14:7 Every time you interact with a person, one of two things is going to happen. Either you will leave your lipstick on them. Or they will leave their lipstick on you. That lipstick could be negativity, enthusiasm, hope, encouragement, fear, pessimism, laughter, tears, or joy. What you have will leave a mark on them. Make a commitment that people will be better when they leave you than when they arrived. Be a positive change in others. Leave the lipstick of the spirit on them.
And the last lesson I learned is to be aware. Look! Open your eyes. The waitress had no idea that there was a booger and lipstick on my cup. I'm sure she didn't carefully choose that cup so she could be malicious to me personally. I simply think that she is so caught up in the routine, mundane life of serving that she is on some sort of auto pilot. We get the same way sometimes, don't we? There are lonely, lost, hurting people all around us that we could encourage with a word or a touch, if we could only see them clearly. But many times we trudge on through the mud of our daily routine never stopping to look and see clearly. We pray for “God appointments”. Then we drive right on past them, caught up in our own little world. “Open my eyes that I may see...” Psalm 119:18
I believe that all things really do work together for good. I believe that the good times and the bad times are partners in our education. The best mountain ranges have both peaks and valleys. Surfers need both crest and trough of a wave for their exhilaration. And I believe that there are spiritual lessons everywhere if we will only look for them; even in a coffee cup from Denny's.