Is Walmart the Saving Place?

Smiley.svgI have a friend who goes to Walmart looking for people to evangelize. When he spots someone with an obvious affliction, he asks him or her about it. After he has established a rapport with them, he asks if they would like to be healed of the affliction. He declares healing in the name of Jesus and thanks God for healing them. After being healed it is usually easy to tell them about Jesus Christ. They often ask him where his church is. He tells them it’s right there because Walmart is the saving place.

 While Walmart is certainly an excellent place to find people who need to know Jesus, I wonder if the Walmart mentality might be one of the greatest hindrances for people today in knowing God. We have become accustomed to having whatever we want at our fingertips. We are confident that at any time we can just reach out pick anything we desire from the shelf. If it’s inconvenient to get it today, it will always be there tomorrow. Walmart is a world of one stop convenient shopping.

 In many aspects we have come to expect everything in life to be this way. If we want water, we turn on the tap and get it. If we want hot food we set the microwave to two minutes and it’s ready. We have even reached the point that any information we need is readily available through our computer or cell phone. The idea of accessing something when it is available doesn’t have much meaning to us.

The problem occurs when we try to apply this mentality to God. Modern theology seems to have adapted to this concept by giving us the impression that we can access God any time we like and in any way we choose. Salvation it’s self is just a short prayer away whenever we choose. The Idea is that we can fit God into the momentary lulls in activity through out the day or as we have need of Him. When it’s convenient, we just pick Him off the shelf like some merchandise at Walmart. This is no surprise since we already treat our friends and family in much the same way. We fit our children and spouses in when we have time. Our activity has become the priority rather than God and others being the driving force behind our activities.

This may shock some of us, but God is not at our beckoned call. The Bible speaks of the importance of seeking the Lord. Seeking does not imply ready availability. Rather, seeking implies a need to expend time and effort to gain access to something important. In the Biblical record we see people who took time to seek out a relationship with God. People like Abraham who continually built Alters to worship or David who rose early to seek the Lord before ruling a kingdom. The greatest example is Jesus who continually left the crowds thronging Him to have time communing with His Father in Heaven. This usually came at the expense of His sleep. The idea that we can say a short prayer and obtain salvation rather than living a life based on faith in Jesus Christ is a deception of convenience. We can find no such example in the scriptures. Nor can we find examples of powerful people of God who sought Him when it was convenient. However, there are many examples of people who fall away from Him this way.

 2 Corinthians 6:1 Working together with Him, we also appeal to you, “Don’t receive God’s grace in vain.” 2 For He says: I heard you in an acceptable time, and I helped you in the day of salvation. Look, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation. This verse indicates the importance of the present opportunity to access God. There is no guarantee of another time. We can’t put Him off until later expecting Him to be there waiting. John 6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day. When He draws us, that is the time to meet with Him. We must make it a priority then. What do we have to do that is more important than meeting with the creator of the universe?

Recently, I have found myself falling into the Walmart mentality. Meeting with God when it is convenient or when I feel like it. I’ve seized control of when and where I meet with Him. I’m determined to change this in my life and I hope you will take the time to examine how you are relating to Him. Is it on His terms or yours? When we apply the mega-store concept of convenience to our relationship with God, Walmart isn’t the saving place.

All scripture is from the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

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