I am in the process of transitioning jobs. My current job with Outreach Community Ministriescan’t continue beyond the end of the year so I’ve been looking for other things. Well, over the last week all signs have been pointing to Starbucks. I won’t go into all the reasons here, not really the point of this post. But as becoming an employee of the coffee empire becomes more likely, an interesting, and disheartening thing has happened inside me–a violent resistence based on pride.
Pride is something I’ve always known I struggled with some, but it hasn’t been a major problem for me. But as I contemplated this new line of work, here are some of the thoughts that started going through my head: “My wife is going to tell people her husband works at Starbucks. I have a freakin college degree and a master’s degree, what am I doing serving coffee! The other pastors I know who come into Starbucks are going to see me working there now. My kids are going to have a dad who works at Starbucks!”
Now there are ways I can rationalize and say Starbucks wouldn’t be my “real” job, but I think that’s beside the point. The point is that I have completely and utterly swollowed the American lie in regard to position and career. Every step I take in work should lead to more prestige, pay, and responsibility. I always need to move up, but in who’s eyes am I so concerned about moving up? Mostly people I don’t know, and most importantly not God’s. The pursuit of prestige and money is a wide road that many try to walk, and in the end it leads off a cliff. That is where my pride wants to take me. The pursuit of being a blessing to the world is a narrow road you get to walk with your family and a few close friends who’d like to do the same, and it leads to fulfillment in life. My pride leads me away from that.
Sometimes God has to point out our flaws because they hide under the surface. This has been one of those times for me. And while I’m disappointed in what I’ve seen, I’m thankful he’s rooting it out, because I don’t think I can fully embrace life in his kingdom when the kingdom of self-fulfillment, prestige, and pleasure are still deeply rooted in me.