What if God Were Like Starbucks?

I have the Starbucks app on my iPhone5, so I can buy coffee at any Starbucks store and never touch my wallet.

I open my app, tap the “$ Touch to Pay” icon on the screen, hold my phone up in front of the scanner, and listen for the beep. It is so easy to buy coffee that way. It feels like it doesn’t cost me anything. I think that is the point.

It makes me wonder what if God were like Starbucks?

I check my email while I am in line, I switch to the app, I buy the coffee, and then I switch back to my email or read the news while I’m waiting for the barista to fix my drink.

Starbucks works hard to satisfy my every anticipated need. They know I want to pay for the drink as easily as possible. They also know they can dazzle me with choices.

What shall I have when I enter Starbucks? Hot Chocolate? Coffee? Tea? A bottled drink? Frappuccino? Cappuccino? Macchiato? Mocha?

For me, given my middling stage in life, the big choice is “sugar free” or “skinny.” I’d like a “grande skinny hazelnut latte, please.” When I am feeling generous with myself it is a “grande sugar free hazelnut latte.”

My Starbucks app keeps score for me and reminds me how much money I have left in my account before I have to recharge it. Of course, I can do that with a debit card.

My head knows I am spending money for my drinks, but it is so easy without any of that messy human interaction.

What if our interaction with God were like our experience at Starbucks?

How cool would it be if we could drop by a shop, pull out our iPhone or (this Apple devotee would say, God forbid) Android, make our prayer request, scan a code, and then wait for the request to be answered?

Maybe there would be a big menu board in front of us with all the possible requests listed: relationships, illnesses, career, ordinary sins, ruin-your-family sins, or world peace.

Perhaps the baristas would be angels who could take the requests, add spiritual caffeine, pour in a little holy latte, and sprinkle some angel dust on top before handing us our answer.

It would be just so convenient.

Of course, God is different from Starbucks in many ways.

We do not have to go to a specific place to find God. God does not keep score. God has already paid the price for whatever we need.

Any time our relationships are at risk, we are frightened by illness, our jobs are at risk, or we have really messed up our lives, we should remember God is ready for us.

I like Starbucks, but I like God better. I do not need an app for God.

  • Jason

    I love this article it is beautiful. My name is Jason and I live in Grand Rapids Michigan. I am finished with my homework for the night and thought I would check out this newly discovered website. Thanks again. I love your writing style because the theology is condensed down to the sum of its main parts. I now have a distant mentor regardless of the ocean that separates us.

    • DarrellGwaltney

      Thank you, Jason, for your kind comment. It truly means a lot to me because you have hit upon one of my main goals–to keep the theology simple and applicable to every day life. I appreciate having you reading and I hope I can continue to provide thoughtful and interesting things to read. Comment any time! Be well!