I don’t know what you call it, but I call it “pop.”

I have lived in the Northeast, the Southeast, the Northern Plains, and the Southern Plains. In each area I have found two things to be true: 1) each region has a different accepted name for “soft drinks,” and 2) each region believes that any name given to soft drinks in general, aside from their own, is wrong.

In the Northeast, it is “soda.” In the Southeast it is “coke.” (Incidentally, I will never forget my first experience ordering a soft drink at a restaurant. When I asked the waitress to bring me a coke, she responded with “what kind?”) Out here on the Great Plains, many of us call it “pop.”

Some time ago, for a variety of reasons, I made the decision to stop drinking pop. The most important of those reasons was based on my growing desire to live a healthier lifestyle. However, I must admit that in addition to trying to avoid future bouts with diabetes and excessive weight gain, I was developing a growing sense of annoyance with soft drinks in general. More than anything else, I had come to the slow realization over years and years of drinking these drinks, that they always left a bad “after-taste” in my mouth when I was finished with them. The funny thing about drinks that leave a bad taste in your mouth is that you often don’t even consciously realize that the bad taste is there. What you do know, is that even though you can’t quite put your finger on what it is, something about the drink really bothered you, and you find yourself wanting to avoid it in the future.

What kind of an “after-taste” are you leaving with the people that you interact with each day? Does each human interaction that you have leave the lives that you have just touched with the sense of grace, peace, and hope that flows freely from the God that you serve, or does it leave them drained and disappointed, forced to search elsewhere for the love that God wanted to show them through you? If you want to make a real difference in the world, then let God guide you through all of the interactions in your day. If you do, you might just be surprised by how much of the world God changes through you.

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