Spiritual Shopping

Imagine a town in which there are two shopping malls. In one of these, there are lots of things, but none of them work. They are items that are broken, used to exhaustion, not useful in any way. They resemble things you would want to buy—vaguely. Some of them are too broken down for you to be sure. On these items there are huge price tags. Suits for $750 and up—though they’d be quite properly rejected as donations for charity. Appliances that don’t work for $1,000 and up. And on, and on . . .

Across town in another mall there are also goods on the shelves, but these work. They are high quality, brand-name items. If you take them home, you will be able to use them, have fun with them, and be satisfied for a long, long time. There are price tags here as well. There’s that washer-drier set—price tag: $0.00. There’s a high quality new dress—price tag: $0.00. There’s a new television set, Walmart price $499.00—price tag: $0.00.

Now I’m not a great shopper, but I believe I can guess where people would go. They’d want to figure out how it was done, but whether they eventually figured out that a great philanthropist had gifted their town with the $0.00 price tag mall, or whether they discovered that it was an advertising stunt, they’d flock that way. Good things for free! Let’s go get them! There would be lines early in the morning, because nobody would believe it would last. Nobody would want to be left out.

Even if there were no $0.00 price tag mall, eventually nobody would go to the other one, because they would find that their money didn’t get them any satisfaction. If anyone continued to shop there, their neighbors would regard them as insane. They keep doing the same thing (shopping at the mall) but expecting different results.

(1) Attention! All you who are thirsty!
Come to the water.
All who have no money!
Come, buy food and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
with no money, and no charge!
(2) Why do you spend money for something that is not food,
Or your hard work for something that doesn’t satisfy?
Listen to me carefully!
Eat good things!
Satisfy yourself with fine food! — Isaiah 55:1-2

How is it with your spiritual life? Which mall do you shop at?

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