If you had a cup of coffee today, it is likely that it had the word “Starbucks” on the cup. Since its beginning more than forty years ago in Seattle, Starbucks has experienced the ups and downs of the economy, occasional missteps in corporate management, and the pressures of a rapidly-expanding global enterprise. Through it all, Starbucks has persevered and developed a loyal customer base. One of its secrets is a little green booklet that tucks into the apron of every employee. The Green Apron Book expresses the company’s core values.
“As we grew from a small to a much larger group of individuals,” wrote Howard Behar, the former president of the company, “The Little Green Book was a way to capture and write down the things that mattered to us about our mission and the kind of company we were creating.” He said, “The principles are literally brewed into the way we work, make decisions . . . and create opportunities for our future.”
When companies, leaders, and people have enduring sets of core principles, they can withstand the onslaught of change that comes with passing seasons. It provides stability in rough weather. God’s children have a Book which provides the core principles we need to stay strong in an unstable world. It is our anchor.
What Is Different?
What is changing? In their book The Element, Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica point out that the rapid development of technology is more than we can take in. Those over the age of thirty were born before the digital revolution really started. But those under the age of thirty have grown up with the digital revolution. This has created the biggest generational gap since rock and roll.
Even greater is the moral generational gap. Those over thirty in the western world grew up in a culture that still retained a semblance of its Judeo-Christian heritage. But our children are growing in an increasingly secular society.
The Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing noted, “We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing.”
If we’re not careful, we’ll let the pace of change disorient us in our Christian life. Sometimes we’ll feel like Job who bemoaned, “Changes and war are ever with me” (Job 10:17b).
What Has Not Changed?
In Henry Lyte’s beloved hymn, “Abide with Me” the second stanza contains a line we can all pray: “Change and decay in all around I see; O Thou who changest not, abide with me.”
That prayer is based on sound theology. In Malachi 3:6, we read: “For I am the LORD, I do not change.” Hebrews 1:10-12 says, “The heavens are the work of Your hands… Like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”
Theologians call this the immutability of God, referring to His unchanging essence. Arthur W. Pink stated, “God is immutable in His essence, His attributes, and His counsel …The permanence of God’s character guarantees the fulfillment of His promises.”
If God does not change, neither does His peace. Remember what Jesus told the disciples in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” His strength doesn’t waver. His love for us never lessens. His purposes don’t falter.
God is in control, and the One who doesn’t change is more than sufficient to care for us amid the things that do change. To the world, it’s here today and gone tomorrow. For the believer, it’s Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). So when everything seems to be different, remember that nothing has changed. He hasn’t changed, nor can He fail. You can fully rely on Him, now and always.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California.
For more information about Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.
 Howard Behar, It’s Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks (NY: Penguin, 2007), 4.
 Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica, The Element: Finding Your Passion Changes Everything. (New York: The Penguin Group, 2009).
 Quoted by Ronald R. Sims in Changing the Way We Manage Change (Westport, CT: Quorum Books, 2002), 33.
 Arthur W. Pink, The Attributes of God (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), 46.
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