I got a benefits card from Starbucks in the mail today. I’m now a Gold Card carrier. Nice envelope, nice packaging, and nice things to say about me. (Though automated).

Here’s the crazy part: Starbucks isn’t even close to being my favorite coffee.

Part of the reason I got this status – based on how many times a customer orders – is that a church I ministered at gave me a loaded Starbucks card as a gift. Free coffee. Score. (Thanks Mocha Dragon).

But there was also this idea floating around in the back of my mind that if I order enough, I get benefits for my patronage.

Never underestimate the power of providing benefits. Such a program can attract people to be patrons even if you don’t provide their favorite product. There’s power not only in the type of benefits you provide, but also in the sense of community that you create. Because people want to belong.

The interesting thing is that Starbucks didn’t create the idea of a rewards program. And while some church goers would consider it blaspheme if their church had a benefits program, the simple fact is, God started it.

Psalm 103:2 says, “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” And Hebrews 11:6 adds to it by saying, “…And He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

God has a rewards program with benefits.

Sounds way too capitalistic for those occupying Wall Street at the moment. But the truth is, while salvation is offered freely, favor is costly. It demands loyalty, patronage, and consistency.

There are even particular rewards and benefits disseminated in direct proportion to our level of patronage. And while the idealist would say, “You should seek God simply because He’s God” – and I would agree – there is the reality that people are human, and sometimes we don’t see the goal, only the benefits. And if that’s what it takes to drive certain people forward, I’m all for it. Because eventually they’ll get the point. Or they’ll run into the Rewarder.

Unless, of course, you offer a terrible product. In which case I may stop using my Gold Card when the free money runs out. ch:


Q: What rewards do your friends get from knowing you? Do certain friends get different benefits? Based on what?

Q: What retailer or business do you frequent because they have a great reward program? Are you willing to pay more, or put up with something you don’t like, because of their program?



Billy Jepma · 14 Nov ’11 at 11:47 am

Good post, lots of good truth in there. I liked the analogy of God having a rewards program with benefits, never thought of it like that. And I wish I got free coffee… especially the over-priced kind (Starbucks) 🙂

Ron Porter · 14 Nov ’11 at 12:26 pm

Such an incredible statement:

“the truth is, while salvation is offered freely, favor is costly. It demands loyalty, patronage, and consistency.”

The beautiful thing is that God’s reward program is so incredible, that the cost of acquiring favor is nothing compared to the abundant life that God offers. I’m so grateful to be in God’s club!!

    Jason Clement · 14 Nov ’11 at 1:21 pm

    “…salvation is offered freely, favor is costly.”

    I was struck by the same thing… gonna hafta chew on it for awhile.

      Christopher Hopper · 14 Nov ’11 at 1:44 pm

      Interested to know what comes of it. Lemme’ know!

    Christopher Hopper · 14 Nov ’11 at 1:43 pm

    “I’m so grateful to be in God’s club!”

    As am I, my friend. I’m grateful to carry a card no matter what color.

    (Great seeing you in Springfield yesterday).

Debbie Allen · 14 Nov ’11 at 4:28 pm

I LOVE REWARDS CARDS! I also love Starbucks…and I love my son Dan, who is a managing supervisor there. If I understand rewards cards correctly, another aspect of them is that they allow the retailer to “know” their customers. They can see how often I visit and how much I spend on their products. I’m all in with God’s rewards program, because not only do I want to know Him, but I also want to be known by Him. “Search me, O God, and know my heart…” Psalm 139:23; “Yet you know me, O LORD; you see me and test my thoughts about you.” Jer. 12:3; “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.” Psalm 139:1

The greatest reward about the rewards program is in the knowing! Discounts are great; freebies are greater; but to know and be known is vital to us. And to know and be known by God is the greatest privilege available. What a Savior!

    Christopher Hopper · 14 Nov ’11 at 5:07 pm

    “…but to know and be known is vital to us.”

    One of the fundamental core needs we as human’s have. Amazing that relationship with the Lord addresses it completely and fully. And businesses that understand it also grow because of positively exploiting said need.

    Great comments, Debbie!

Brian F · 18 Nov ’11 at 2:56 pm

I want a gold card so bad. I <3 coffee.

Great post too!! 🙂

    Christopher Hopper · 18 Nov ’11 at 6:53 pm

    Mine came in 2 weeks; others have told me it takes 6 months!

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