When I’m in need of some quiet study/write/read time and I can’t manage to get anything done at home, I head to a coffee shop. Not going to lie, I typically go for the high-maintenance orders.
Sitting at a coffee shop as we speak. Just ordered my drink: an almond milk decaf latte in a mug. Not too complicated today. Almond milk because I’m staying away from dairy and decaf because I’m working to break the caffeine addiction. I passed around plenty of “pleases” and “thank yous” because I certainly felt like the difficult one in the room. Paid my fee, stepped up to the counter, and waited with a smile.
The barista loudly announced, "grande latte!" and handed me a beautiful ceramic mug filled with coffee and milk.
Big smile on, I shrugged my shoulders and politely asked, “this is the almond milk decaf, right?”
Without saying a word, he glared at me, took the mug from my hands, dumped the mug into the sink while maintaining eye contact, and then noisily dropped the mug into the sink. I was quick to apologize, making an argument that I haven’t had a cup of full caffeine coffee in a couple months and wouldn’t want to go off the deep end. He made no attempt to respond to my monologue, so I politely sat down, my back to the counter. I heard milk steaming and other people grabbing their orders but there was no mention of an almond milk decaf latte.
Ten or so minutes later, I casually turned around and glanced at the counter, wondering if my drink had been remade. It had. But no one told me. It was sitting on the opposite side of the counter, slowly becoming cold. Barista had chosen to not re-announce my drink - very obvious he was purposeful in his choice.
My blood pressure surged for a few quick seconds. What a jerk. I shot a dirty look at the person who appeared to be in charge, took the drink back to my table, and noisily sat back down. As my heart literally began to beat faster, I entertained the idea of reporting him in that very moment - walking over to the counter where I ordered and making some rude comment about how he was being a terrible employee and a poor representation of the company.
Then I paused for a second...the word “mercy” came to mind.
I fully realize I’m making a big deal out of nothing, but bear with me for a moment.
At it’s essence, mercy is withholding from someone what they deserve. It is compassion or forgiveness shown to someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
That barista “deserved” to be reported just a few moments ago. He “deserved” to get a rude glance and not so kind word. From the way he continued to have negative conversation behind the counter, he probably “deserved” a reprimand from management on maintaining a professional demeanor. But today I chose mercy. Not because I’m the bigger person, but simply because I have received mercy myself.
I don’t deserve mercy. I don’t deserve love, compassion, grace, peace, mercy...I don’t deserve any of that.
“But, God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” [Ephesians 2:4-6]
Did you catch that? His love was so great (an indescribable love) that He was rich in mercy. Not selective in mercy, RICH in mercy. He loved me even when I was living (and often choose to live) a life that was dead and ultimately headed for eternal death. My finite mind can’t wrap itself around that. I mess up daily. Sometimes by accident. Oftentimes by choice. And, yet, He LOVES me and has MERCY that is overflowing. And because of that, He makes me alive. HE makes me alive.
I have received a mercy that is beyond sufficient description. I am loved by a God who loves me regardless of my poor decisions. He shows me rich amounts of mercy in spite of my (often) daily choices to pridefully turn away from Him.
With Christ in me, having received that indescribable gift of love and mercy, I have a duty to spread those very things to all I encounter. The very least I can do is show some mercy, smile, and say thank you in the midst of a coffee drink order gone bad.
~ Emily Harbin
I'm a daughter, sister, and aunt who lives in Clinton, TN.
Thrilled and honored to be serving alongside the worship team at Life Church. He is worthy of our worship!
Life Church Knoxville
We're an inter denominational church in Knoxville, Tennessee that believes that all people matter and should experience the love and power that comes along with a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ.