Spiritual Bargain Shopping

There’s a Home Goods store close to the Starbucks where I like to settle into the comfortable leather club chair and work while I sip on a decaf soy latte. Every once in a while, I’ll drive over there when I’m finished and walk through the store to see what bargains I can find on the clearance shelves. Of course, I know when I walk through the door I’m not going to spend more than the ten or twenty dollars I have tucked in my jeans pocket. Like I said, I’m there for the bargains — something pretty I can hug to my chest and feel good about while I’m telling Terry how much money I saved him.

But lately, God’s been teaching me something about my bargains. They don’t have a lot of lasting power. Most of them sit on the mantle or a side table somewhere until I find something prettier and they’re banished to the “bargain cabinet” in the family room that’s full of stuff that will eventually find its way to a donation bag or yard sale. It’s the treasures in my home that have the staying power. The objects that are full of heart and soul and speak of sacrifice and thoughtfulness. The objects that instantly remind me of places I’ve been or the people I love like crazy and those who love me back.

God whispered in my ear this morning that it’s the treasures that have a palpable heartbeat, carved deep with meaning that bring satisfaction to my soul. Next to these, my bargains appear pointless and trivial and I wonder why I bother to waste my time and money on them. He also reminded me that bargain shopping is the wrong approach to my spiritual life as well.

I’m so busted. God knows I don’t want to hold worthless spiritual victories to my chest, but sometimes I do. You know, the ones I can feel good about while reminding him just how much I’ve put myself out for him. And the truth is, they don’t really mean a thing. I knew it when I walked through the door, ready to spend only the paltry offering in my unmotivated, unenthusiastic heart. I knew it then, and I knew it when I set my miserable, meaningless spiritual bargain on his altar and turned my head away in shame.

It’s only when I go for broke – when I give him everything with complete abandonment – that I discover a spiritual treasure that speaks my name, reminding me of how much I love God, but more importantly, just how much more he loved me first. And that my friends, is no waste of time nor money.

” Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list.” Matthew 22: 37-38 (Message)

© 2011 Kathy Chapman Sharp

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