Both darkening as they steep. Both with a curl of steam rising. Each with a tea bag, imparting the flavor and scent and color of its tea leaves as the hot water draws it out.
Yet, as you get closer, they are different. One smells like…well, plain tea. The other is infused with a scent that is more transcendent.
Two people, made in the image of God.
One sees the surface of life only. Life with its ups and downs, its trials and successes – but no known purpose, no clear direction, no guiding hand. Just a dark, hard-to-see-through brew of daily existence.
The other is infused with something different, a substance that transcends. Mingled with the aroma of this world is the fragrance of another. There is faith in the leaves.
Like ancient Joseph, sold into slavery in Egypt and falsely accused of uncommitted crimes (yet still faithful to his God), faith percolates through even the darkest times. And, like Joseph, light and purpose and divine wisdom break out to show that this is no ordinary life. God is at work. The aroma of faith is unmistakeable.
Very few of God’s children will be billboard-visible. Most of us will look a lot like any other cup of tea – except that the infusion of the grace of Jesus Christ produces something very different. Faith infused leads to renewed hope, to self-giving love, to feeble yet sincere worship. The apostle Paul called it an aroma of life to life – though for those who despise God and His ways, it becomes like an aroma of death. When Christians are despised, not for their quirks, but for their faith, it only reveals the hostility of those who oppose God for what it is. Death at work.
But infused faith is God at work. Giving life. And even making that life flavorful.
Today, O Lord, infuse me with Yourself. Even in the tumult of this life, may faith arise from this cracked and stained cup, to Your glory.