The plight of people doesn’t change. Going through the check-out at Target today, I was reminded of most folks’ situation. The young gentleman scanning my soap, cotton balls, and dog food initiated a conversation. In two minutes, just one hundred and twenty seconds, I learned three things about this dude that tells me where so many people are today.
After he had asked me two quick questions relating to why I chose his line, I responded by asking him, “How many hours do you work a week?” He said, “35-40, but this week…only 16.” He continued without me asking anymore questions. He said, “Yeah, I have a college degree from Carolina…two degrees as a matter of fact…an undergraduate degree in biology, and a Master’s degree in teaching. I found out too late that I didn’t like teaching. I’m surely overqualified to work as a cashier.” Here’s the first thing I learned: We are all looking for meaning in life. It matters little how much education you have or how little you feel at times, we all want to do something that counts. You may not feel like it at times, but we want others to know we have something more to offer.
He asked me, “What do you do?” I replied, “I’m a minister.” Without missing a beat, he remarked back, “Yeah, I thought about doing that once…but only for a brief minute…I have a lot of bad thoughts going through my mind.” For a moment I didn’t know how take that response, and maybe I still don’t, but here’s the second thing I learned: We all have bad thoughts going through our heads. The thing that counts is what you do with those thoughts. If you act them out, those bad actions usually lead to bad consequences. Don’t act them out, turn to the redeeming power of God in Christ.
As the lady behind me was staring him down and gritting her teeth, he didn’t get in a hurry. He asked one final question so I could sum up your situation and mine…he asked, “What is the name of your church and where are you located?” I told him, and told him about how we meet in an elementary school because we don’t have a building. He said, “Oh yeah, I know what kind of church you have!” That impatient lady behind me was being tested. By this time, I felt I should be moving on out the door.
Do you really know quandary and predicament of most people? They are wanting to belong to something that counts, but they feel like they are not good enough. The church is looking in the wrong places to preach and make disciples. Here’s the kicker and the third thing I learned: They think they already have the church figured out, and many times they do! Way too many times we, the church, miss the target.