I was enjoying a refreshing "Strawberry Acai Refresher Lemonade" from Starbucks recently and I saw a sign that had pictures of white cups and there were at least 30 cups on the picture but only one of them had a Starbucks emblem on it. The tag line at the bottom said, "It's not just coffee, it's Starbucks."
For some reason my mind went to Religion and churches. I thought about how there are so many forms of religion circling around these days. They all claim to be "the way" to God. I have a slight problem at times with Religion. Religion gets us in trouble because we so often make it our God and we forget about the Savior, His message and His mission.
What do you do when there are so many choices to make about where to go to church, and so many ways to worship? What about when someone is telling you that their way is the only way? Jesus says "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me." Jesus is the only way to get to the Father, but how many ways are there to get to Jesus?
I could give you a million reasons of why I believe the way I do and how I came to believe what I believe. I can also tell you why I choose to have my coffee the exact way I always have it. I would never tell a person the way they drink their coffee is wrong. I also would never tell a person that their religion is wrong. It's not my place to judge the way you do things, I am only allowed to judge myself. I need to love them and let God set them straight.
Maybe it's hard for you to see my coffee/church/religion analogy but to me it's so clear.
The object of Christianity is a life serving Christ, showing His love to all people. When you get caught up in religion or the desire to make people serve like you do, you are missing the boat.
The object of coffee is a refreshing caffeinated drink that will wake you up momentarily and it tastes good. You can have some great times over a cup of coffee but if you start telling people how they need to drink it or that their coffee is invalid, they just might stop drinking it with you all together.
If you don't drink coffee, then use your favorite drink from Starbucks as your example. Perhaps you want a grande, non-fat, hot chocolate with no whipped cream, you wouldn't want another person coming along trying to make you drink it their way right?
That picture I saw at Starbucks made it all clear to me. There are a lot of different places you can go to get a cup of coffee, the reason people choose Starbucks is because they like the service, the product and it has a good name.
I really want to see Jesus represented with the same respect. You take your friends to Starbucks, you go there faithfully and you tell others about it right? If Jesus is the only way by which man might be saved, then let's tell people about Him with our actions, our friendship, our love and by sharing His message of grace.
"It's not just religion, it's Jesus!"