Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)
TITLE: Stalking the Choicest
By Diana Richardson
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Shopping is one of my favorite pastimes. I love a bargain so much that I’ll go to store after store until I find exactly what I want for just the right price. End of season sales are the best chance to bag a bargain. Now that we have the internet there is no limit to the possibilities of price or place. I can shop Australia as easily as the U. S.
Even when I have no money I still like to shop, window shopping it’s called. I can scope out the best price for when I have money again. Of course, I probably won’t remember where it was. If I do remember, the item I liked won’t be there or the price has gone up. I’ve even caught myself buying things, just in case I may need it later. Sometimes I actually do need it later, but most of the time it only takes up space in my closet.
Shopping is a particularly female form of hunting and gathering. It’s the thrill of the hunt. I may be better at finding bargains than my best friend and I’ll brag about every conquest. It’s a skill we learn early and we get lots of practice in our blessed world. The basics are simple and easy to apply. We decide what we want and go after it. I want red shoes and I don’t want to pay more than $20.00 for them. Then I’ll follow my past sites of shoe conquests to search hard and with determination.
We can apply the same skill to almost anything. The teenager decides she wants to date a football star. She’ll pick out her prey and be found wherever he may be, coincidentally of course. If we want a promotion, we’ll follow just the right steps to be noticed by the right people. You get the picture.
The problem is that we also apply it to the spiritual as well. We want a church home. We decide exactly what we want in a church, small, large, rich congregation or a good place to network. We want an eloquent preacher, fun youth group or grand musicals. Of course, some of us are concerned about what they teach. We may visit many congregations until we hear what we want to hear. After all, they must match our beliefs, right?
Maybe God doesn’t want shoppers. Maybe our criteria should be a bit different for the Spiritual. Maybe, just maybe, we should be asking God what a church should be. Perhaps He’d be more pleased if we know His word well enough to choose the congregation that most closely follows the Jesus.
Instead of looking for a place that fits our plans we need to see if it fits God’s plan. Some of us want a large church where we can get overlooked and never asked to do anything. If we get to know Jesus we should want a place with plenty for us to do to serve. Many times we think we know our talents, but God knows them better. We may want to work in the service of the poor giving out food. God may be directing us to the congregation that needs a counselor for the young or encourager for the elderly.
Our greatest strength comes in humble obedience to God’s commands and leading rather than our own choices. God’s word is not a store from which to pick and choose as we wish, but must be taken in its entirety. Take it all and make yourself in His style.
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