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Forgetting Why We Came

I tried not to laugh - at least no so that she could see.

Braving the self-check line at a local supermarket, I noticed a well-dressed, middle-aged woman at the register beside me. She wasn’t buying much and she quickly scanned her items, bagged them, and paid for her purchases.

As she pushed her cart past me to leave, I heard the man behind her. “Ma’am. Ma’am! Aren’t these yours?” he asked pointing to her bags still on the counter.

The lady had gone shopping, found what she wanted, paid for it, and had promptly forgotten the very thing she came for.

It’s easy to do. We get distracted. We know we need the items, but our mind is on something else.

It’s easy to do on Sundays, too. We go to the spiritual supermarket (church) and see a few things we need. We may even hand our money to the cashiers. But it’s so easy to forget to take anything home with us.

All that “love each other” and “do good” and “serve” looks good on the shelf. But taking it home and using it is another story.

Not a new problem. A young preacher named Timothy was warned to beware of people who like to check out the things of God, but fail to take them home. “There will be terrible times in the last days,” Paul tells him. “People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money . . . disobedient to their parents . . . without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control . . . lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

If I understand what that’s about, it’s referring to people who go to church, or casually talk about believing, or forward emails about loving Jesus. But the way they live doesn’t seem to be changing to follow the teaching of Jesus. There is a form of godliness – some religiousness, but no powerful transformation.

Since I watched that lady walk off without her purchases, I’ve tried to be more careful not to do the same (lest someone write about me!). More importantly, I need to guard against doing that spiritually. It would be tragic to have the best that God offers right there in my cart, already paid for with the life of his son, and then fail to take it home.


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