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Shopping for a god | W. David Phillips

Shopping for a god

Recently I went to Lowes looking for a screen/storm door for the front of the house. My parents were getting me one for my birthday. The front of our house is almond, so we were looking for one that color and found a couple we liked that were reasonably priced. They didn’t have any almond colors in stock, and the sales guy didn’t seem too interested in helping anyway, so we left. We went to Home Depot.

The area manager showed up, asked us what we were looking for, and quickly found a really nice, full exposure door for a great price – much better quality than a similarly-priced door at Lowes actually. So we purchased it and installed.

It’s an issue of pragmatics, really. We could have ordered what we wanted from Lowes. But it would have been more money. So we did what Americans do: we shopped for a deal. And we found what we needed and wanted and so that is where we got the door.

God is not trying to be one place where you get your needs met. He wants to be only place.

Matthew 6:25-34 tells us,

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life–whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

In other words, quit shopping to get your needs and wants met. Seek what God wants and he will give you everything you need.

James, likely drawing from Matthew in general and Matthew 21:21 in particular, tells us “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.

This verse is a picture of a person who wants wisdom and answered prayers and met needs from God one day and wisdom and answered prayers and met needs from the world the next. This person can’t make up their mind about who to trust.

God wants to meet your everyday needs and provide you with wisdom to understanding life from His perspective. He wants to answer your prayers in the way that will be best for you. But he requires trust.

Doubt will always be with us; it’s a function of who were are on this side of eternity. But what bothers God is someone who can’t make up his or her mind who to trust for their needs in life or the wisdom for living.

Practically, this can mean:
1. Using food to meet an emotional need.
2. Being consumed by money.
3. Looking to others (or the government) to take care of you instead of God

Being good consumers, we often shop for the best place to get what we want. Our consumerism drives us to get our needs met and our wants met. But a Christ-follower has a different agenda – the kingdom of God. When we seek that we will be taken care of. And when we trust God with our lives, he answers our prayers, including the wisdom to understand those answers.

David has been a systems thinker most of his life. He has started three businesses as well as designed and developed systems and processes in existing organizations. He has a Doctorate in Leadership and has also done additional post-graduate work in communications.

He has also pastored 3 churches and loves to think about, write about and podcast about scripture, theology, and leadership.

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