A Tall Tea, Please

“His favorite drink? Not coffee – tea, he’s a tea guy,” the radio DJ spoke in regard to a musician. “He likes a tall earl grey tea; half steamed milk, half water, with two shots of syrup and lots of foam at the top.”

Immediately I started thinking. Why does it matter what kind of drink the guy likes? Does anyone really care about that? There were a lot of fancy terms for that drink… probably one of those higher-end coffee shops. Sounds like he knows what he’s doing; he must order frequently. But I wonder how much one of those costs? If he orders frequently, how much money is he spending just on a drink? That adds up quickly! Aren’t there better things to spend that money on? Isn’t it selfish to spend money like that? What about other people who need that $4, or however much his drink costs? Does he realize how much he could be doing for others with that money? People who have less than he does?

As the next song came on and I turned onto the road by my house, I was sadly shaking my head and thinking about money I spend that could be spent better. Hopefully I wasn’t misusing my money at all; I’d want to make sure I wasn’t being hypocritical.

But as I thought about it, I realized a bigger problem. I don’t know anything about the guy. Not his background, not his daily life, not his reasoning for anything – nothing. I simply heard his drink preference, and automatically began assuming things about his character.

Who am I to judge? How do I know whether or not this man’s drink purchases are misuses of his money? The Bible does provide much guidance on money and how it should and shouldn’t be used. Yet the Bible also shows us that God is the one who knows hearts. We don’t.

I don’t know where this man’s heart is. I can look at his spending and say, “Wow, he must have a lot of money. Or he just doesn’t think about people in need, since he’s spending that much on something so insignificant.” Is that a right judgement? No, it’s not. What if he goes to that coffee shop on a regular basis because he’s befriended some of the employees, and it’s his means of ministering to them? What if his sole reason for getting that drink is to show specific people how God loves them? What if he buys that drink so he can leave a bigger tip? What if his daughter works there, and he goes for her?

He may well have a deeper reason for getting a preferred type of tea. And he may not. But whether he uses his money wisely or not is between him and God, not him and me.

Matthew 7:1-6

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