What’s in a cup?

So … every once in a while I treat myself to a Caramel Mocha from Fivebucks .. errr … I mean Starbucks.  It is a guilty indulgence, and definitely not an every day kinda thing, but every so often I do partake in the glorious bean juice.

Today was one of those mornings.  This particular morning I went in to the local shop (which is close to where I work), and immediately noticed something about the place that day.

There were a lot of 11 year olds.  Like 7 of them.  Now this Starbucks is about 200 yards from one of the local middle schools, so it isn’t completely foreign to think that people of that age group up and about at 7:05 in the morning.  Being a sociologist and counselor by trade, “This (I thought) is about to get interesting.”

It was what I noticed next that really got me thinking.

In the hubbub of chit-chat, texting, and adding creamer and sugar to their coffee (remember … 11-13 year olds), one of the young ladies asked the others to wait.  This is how the conversation proceeded:

Girl 1: “Hey guys, wait for me.  Don’t leave, I’m going to get something too.”

Girl 2 (observed to be the “alpha” – based on how everyone was standing in proximity to her, facing her, etc.): “How much money you got, girl?”

Girl 1: “Fifty cents.”

Girl 2: “Well, we’re waiting outside (it was getting close to school start)”.

Girl 1 then proceeds to make her order.

A water.

Not a bottled water (you know, the kind where no trees, raccoons, or salmon were harmed in harvesting), but a cup of water, with ice (free of charge).  The unique thing about this glass of water?

A little decal of a crowned woman.

Who would have thought that a tiny picture would make that glass of water so much better than something from the sink or drinking water fountain?

And yet, I am reminded … I do that all the time.  We all do.

We buy things, we use things, we strive for things, we watch things, we participate in things because we believe that they have some value to us.

This value may be real – and by “real”, I mean tangible, something we can touch.

The value, more often than not is symbolic.  What makes water in a Starbuck’s cup better than out of the fountain?  It’s the perceived value that the young lady placed on it.  Correct or incorrect, real or perceived, she did it, and we do it all the time.

We should be careful though.  Water is water.  A coat is a coat.  A car is a car.

Now, I shame no one for wanting high quality things.  Things that are durable.  Things that will last.

I am more talking about us being careful where we put our value, our belief, and our trust.  What do we believe will make us a better father, husband, brother, employee, boss, mother, or human?

Do we test things, ensure their real value, or do we bend to trends of the day?

I encourage you all, in this Thanksgiving season, even, to continuously take inventory of the things that you believe add value to your life or your purpose.  Take inventory, and carve away the tiny idols and misplaced trust, and hold fast to those things that give to you and help you to establish true value to yourself, others, and your Creator.

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