What a Starbucks Mistake says about the Daily Grind

I love coffee, but I’m not a big fan of Starbucks (even though I’ve waded through crowds slurping frap-a-shakes to get a cup before). However, they have a lot of experience in the coffee biz and I’m continuing to learn from a corporate misstep they made. It’s a tidbit I’ve shared a few times, so if you have a minute, let’s brew-up a thought together.

Several years ago while evaluating a logistics change to improve quality control, it became clear the store experience was negatively impacted (the dreaded unintended consequence). They had started centrally grinding the coffee beans, vacuum sealing the grounds, and shipping them to each location. Unfortunately, in the process a precious element was eliminated-the glorious smell of the grinding action in the stores. Yep, that wonderful inviting aroma (which even non-coffee-drinkers enjoy) was missing; so they made the change back to locally preparing the beans. Here’s what I’m learning from their snafu:

In 2 Corinthians 2:12-17 Paul describes believers as the “aroma of Christ” with word pictures of “Roman Triumph” (parades honoring great generals coming back from foreign battle). In it, a procession wound through Rome to the Coliseum with the General up front, and captured enemy walking behind. Among them, priests would carry burning incense to fill the entire route with the fragrance of victory. So what does that mean for us? Do we need to fire up the incense and get some smoke going? No, for us it comes from the grind…the daily grind of life happening while the Holy Spirit works …but there are challenges.

  • Challenges from within: I need to be honest about my faith journey and the struggles it produces. The world around me doesn’t need a fake plastic Christian or a self-loathing defeatist; it needs the honesty of one who’s found hope in a victorious King while growing daily. There are endless places for that aroma to have an impact: such as family, vocation and community.
  • Challenges from without: The world offers many distractions. As followers of Christ, we’re told to avoid the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-17). If my life “smells” the same as an unbelieving neighbor, then I’m a coffee shop missing the expected essence of fresh grind.
  • Challenges from church: As church leaders, we can unintentionally push the “central grind” mentality. We focus a lot on creating the right atmosphere for worship or study, but the power of God can’t be packaged for later convenience…it’s a daily thing. We must biblically equip folks to be fresh-ground aroma at work, school or ballgames as a result of personal growth and the Holy Spirit working. 

So, next time you see their familiar green symbol, think of the aroma; it’s not by accident, it’s part of the process. What about you?

“OK, Who Trashed the Living Room?”


“What a mess!” Those words were my first thought when I noticed the clutter scattered around the living room. No, not the space in our home with the TV, but the one that’s more personal. I mean the living space of my heart where thoughts are formed and attitudes are developed. It’s the room I know well, but others don’t…except for the Lord, and He wants me to join Him in a daily walk-through. Here’s how it works. 

Each day in prayer, I need to spend a few moments considering the room (especially the corners). To be honest, early on I thought someone had been sneaking in and leaving stuff (like worn-out furniture that mysteriously shows up “donated” to the church). Next, I found occasion to blame unwanted attitudes on someone else’s sin (like a stranger had walked through and tracked mud on the carpet). Then finally I realized the space in question was my responsibility, not others’, and that the mess was my own.  

So, what’s the status of your “living room”? Perhaps you’ve never trusted Christ, and your walk-through needs a beginning. If so, you can do that right now by admitting your need for Jesus’ forgiveness, asking Him to change your heart and committing to follow Him as Lord of your life. For those of us who know Christ already, daily “room prep” is an essential part of living victoriously. Here are three points to help with the process: 

  • The Searching – start the process with an honest, prayerful evaluation: 

“Search me, O God and know my heart; test me and know my concerns.

See if there is any offensive way in me; lead me in the everlasting way.” – Psalm 139:23-24 HCSB 

  • The Cleaning – be willing to admit the need for God’s help even in the small things, and live in the grace of being forgiven:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9 NKJV

  • The RefreshingLast, but not least; after dealing with the dirt and litter, let the Holy Spirit create the right atmosphere for a God-honoring day: 

“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure,

whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable-if there is any moral excellence

and if there is any praise-dwell on these things.”  – Philippians 4:8 HCSB

%d bloggers like this: