Soda Scandal

I need you to weigh in on a long-standing debate my husband and I have had.

When you go to a fast food restaurant and you are really thirsty, is it ok to order a small soda and fill it up multiple times with the free refills or should you just order a large? Is it stealing? Time in purgatory? Or just a wise consumer? To preserve the reputations of the parties involved I won’t divulge who orders the large and who orders the small.

Every day is full of small and large choices. We are constantly challenged morally and ethically. If we’re honest we need to admit we haven’t always made the right choices. It’s called being human. Often, we rationalize away our poor judgement. We are blinded to our wrongs.

One of the first things I noticed when I began to stir up the Holy Spirit in my life was a gentle nagging when I made some of the poor choices I had become accustomed to making. It just didn’t feel good. Like when I gossiped about someone, was late for an appointment and said it was heavy traffic when really it was lazy me, gave my husband the cold shoulder for days, or didn’t answer when I saw it was my mother-in-law on caller ID. (I only did that a couple times.) Little everyday choices to withhold the love and care that God was calling me to share.

The Holy Spirit convicts us of those habits in an effort to prune us, to make us better. When faced with our weaknesses we can get discouraged and that discouragement leads us to turn away from God. We might say, “I can never measure up, so what’s the point?” The point is not to make us feel bad about ourselves; the point is to show us that with the conviction comes the knowledge of God’s infinite mercy. When we admit to our sinfulness. Call a spade a spade. Show genuine sadness for our actions or thoughts and ask for forgiveness we find something amazing waiting for us. The tender heart of God waiting to shower us with compassion, forgiveness, kindness, sympathy and grace. In short, Divine Mercy.

We’ve seen in the last few week’s blogs how stirring up the Holy Spirit brings us a new awareness of God as personal and near. Opens us to the deep love and care he has for us. And this week, the wideness in his mercy and forgiveness. Such blessings!

The natural next step once we begin to know God personally and experience his love and mercy is to want to give back in some way. To serve in gratitude. This is where the real fun begins!

As baptized Christians we have all been given a mission, to bring Christ to the world. How we do that and what “mission field” we are called to is different and unique to each of us. Your mission field, the people God has called you to bring his goodness and love to, might be in your school, your office, or across your kitchen table. The tools we are given to carry out our mission are our charisms. Charisms are spiritual gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit to give to others. Some examples of charisms are Teaching, Encouragement, Wisdom, and Hospitality. There are many more.

Again, we are given these gifts but we need to stir them up, to discern what gifts we have and where God is calling us to use them. My journey of stirring up my gifts and asking God to show me where he wanted me to use them was an interesting and exciting one to say the least. It led me to places and people and a purpose I never could have dreamed of or planned myself. It led me to true joy and all of you!

We have a couple weeks left before Pentecost Sunday. I challenge you to invite the Holy Spirit into your day, into your prayers. Ask for whatever it is you need. Whatever you are thirsting for.

A deeper awareness of God. A personal experience of his faithfulness and care. An outpouring of tender love. Forgiveness. Clarity about your charisms and purpose. A large soda.?


Joan Carey, Firstfruits executive director, is an author and speaker with a passion for helping women grow in their relationships with God. Her Ponder This book contains a series of modern day parables sure to get you thinking about and seeing our extraordinary God in our ordinary experiences. Joan invites you to use resources on this website for daily reflection in your journey to grow in God's loving care for you.
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