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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: Don't Forget Your Spiritual Coupons!
By Donna Emery
03/03/07


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My scissors were ready.

Id held them in my hand as I scanned the Sunday paper. There were so many great coupons and I'd eagerly trimmed each one that I thought I could use. Id made a note of the special sales at my grocery store. I was sure I'd save a bundle on our groceries this week!

Our budget's been tighter since Ed had to go on disability and I knew we had to save money wherever we could. I hadn't been much of a "coupon queen" before, but I'd wanted that grocery store trip to be different. I'd vowed to use the coupons and ads in the paper to get the best bargains for our money. Ed said he was proud of me for finding ways to stretch our budget.

After I wrote my list, I recopied it and put it in the order that the groceries would be found at our local store. I didn't want to miss anything we needed. I took my little pile of coupons and wrote a big check mark by each item that I had a coupon for. Then I wrote smaller check marks near the items that were on sale. I was ready.

In the store, I went down the aisles methodically. I bought everything on the list and resisted the temptation to pick up that cheesecake that was calling my name. After I went into the freezer case and selected our final choices, I breathed a sigh of relief. I'd followed my plans and gotten everything we needed. Since I was done making my choices, I crumpled up the shopping list and threw it a nearby trashcan. I placed my groceries on the conveyor belt and absentmindedly watched as the clerk scanned and bagged my purchases. I paid, wished the clerk a great day and left.

I was halfway home when I realized I'd forgotten to use the coupons.

I called myself every name in the book and angrily muttered all the way home. When Ed asked how my coupon mission had gone, I told him what had happened. He looked at me incredulously: "All that work and planning... and you didn't use them?" I shook my head. What could I say? He was right.

I didn't forget anything from that trip to the grocery store and I had enough money to pay for the groceries without the coupons. But the money I could have saved would have eventually added up and alleviated some of the pressures of our tighter budget. I had those coupons ready to use that day. But when I saw the end of my trip in sight, I relaxed my vigilant attention and forgot to use my coupons.

Lately, my life has seemed a lot like that trip to the grocery store. New challenges have led me to seek resources that will help me through them. So, I read my Bible, pray, listen to Christian music, go to church, and set aside time to talk with the Lord. In my life's challenges, I am very aware of God's presence, guidance and care. I know I can't do my best without His help. But sometimes when it's seemed that the solution is near, I let my guard down and "coast" on my own resources to the end. When I do this, it's like clipping those coupons and not using them.

The time I spend preparing for spiritual challenges can result in some "spiritual coupons." When I am tempted, I can use the spiritual coupon of Prayer to resist its lure. When I am angry, wisdom gained from the spiritual coupon of Reading the Word can help me make peace with my feelings. When I am tense, the spiritual coupon of Christian Music can help calm my soul. When I have questions about life, the spiritual coupon of Church Attendance will help me find the Christian teaching and fellowship that I need. When I need to know the next step forward in following Gods Will, I can use the spiritual coupon of Quiet Time with the Lord.

The next time I go to the grocery store, I'm holding on to my coupons for dear life; until they disappear into the cashier's scanner. And the next time life gives me a challenge, I pray I'll remember to hold on to my spiritual coupons, too.

*******************************************************************

1 Corinthians 1:8: He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV)


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This article has been read 806 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Loren T. Lowery03/08/07
A great analogy and some good advise put in an entertaining way.
cindy yarger03/10/07
Good lesson in this. Thanks for sharing it!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/10/07
I love the way you used "spiritual" coupons. This is a well written article.
Jacquelyn Horne03/12/07
Good comparison here. I'd never thought of spiritual coupons. But why not? Good writing.
Leigh MacKelvey03/12/07
Great wisdom written into theis stroy. Great writing also!
Sharlyn Guthrie03/13/07
I love lessons learned from everyday happenings such as this. You did an excellent job of realting your story and applying it to spiritual truth.
Patty Wysong03/14/07
How many times have I done that, too?!? This week I actually remembered to give the cashier my coupon and I was so impressed with myself! (I'd embedded the coupon with my cash...) I especially liked how you applied it to our spiritual lives! =) =)
Clyde Blakely 03/17/07
Very good analogy. I'm glad we do not have to present a spiritual coupon to the Lord when in need. Especially since everything we recieve from Him is by grace and mercy. Thank you for sharing.

God bless and keep writing.
Patricia Casey03/18/07
This is a great story. I also was not a coupon shopper and made the same mistake as you, more than once. But I have found that God isn't always asking us to use coupons. Sometimes I think that coupons can be our own understanding of how to best use God's money, but we need to stop and ask Him if that's what He wants us to do. It was God that had you forget the coupons and God that helped you to see that you still had enough money for all your needs.

Thanks for sharing your great story.

In Jesus' Name,

Patricia