I jumped out of the shower. Threw on some clothes. Oops, forgot to pick out the jeans. Half dressed, anyway. Think I’ll go to Wal-Mart, my favorite. Lots of stuff to buy. Dogs, dogs, so many dogs. Got to get stuff for Walk by Faith Ministry. A little for me, too. Remember the jeans. Rush. Rush? Really? What’s the rush. Oh, I know. I figured before I jumped in the shower (no, I didn’t really jump, where do people get that expression anyway), that I’d spend some time with my God’s Notebook listening to the Lord BEFORE I go shopping. But it was just too tempting. Wal-Mart, that is. On a drizzly day, come to think of it. Ahem. Jesus? Oh, Him? I’ll do my listening to the Lord WHEN I GET HOME. Jesus? I’ll just throw Him in the shopping cart.
Really? REALLY! This is really what I was thinking. Jesus will come along for the ride, and I’ll spend some time with Him when I get home. Don’t shopping carts have that special place for toddlers? Maybe He’ll fit in there.
Seriously, this is serious. Really, this is real. We’re living in a world that is increasingly busy, and increasingly too busy for Jesus. But world aside, what about me? I’m really good at multi-tasking, sort of, not really, but anyway. Anyway, I’m good at throwing Jesus into the mix. Into the shopping cart, to be quite frank. I could easily have run off to Wal-Mart with Jesus fastened into His child’s seat in the back of my car. Only I don’t have a child’s seat, and I don’t have much of a back seat, at all. The whole back of my car is open for the dogs, but the real question is how open my heart and my mind are to Jesus.
Jesus is the love of my life, yet somehow rushing off to Wal-Mart is just so incredibly important that the leading I had in my heart to open up my God’s Notebook and write down what the Lord tells me BEFORE I head out into the drizzle to the store just took a back seat. Well, almost. Fortunately, and I mean really fortunately, I love Jesus SO MUCH that the “quiet voice” inside me telling me to spend time with Him FIRST didn’t get entirely drowned out by me. In fact, I changed my mind. Not that there is anything wrong with Wal-Mart, and not that I don’t need diapers for paralyzed dog Miss Molly – and other stuff to boot. And not that I believe there needs to be a particular protocol for how we walk with the Lord (i.e. exact time to pray, exact time to worship, exact time to listen to the Lord). No, I don’t believe there has to be a set order.
But I do believe that in my HEART there needs to be not just a “high” priority, but a “HIGHEST PRIORITY.” I was just thinking about that really popular devotional book called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. It’s a super, super, super popular book. And lots of people use it. I don’t. I purposely avoid books like that because I can get really distracted from God speaking to ME through the gift of writing He’s given me.
But I was thinking about the title of the book because of this. This very issue. This issue of when Jesus calls. This issue of when the Lord is trying to get my attention. This issue of when the Lord wants to speak to me, how easily it is for me rush out the door, just out of the shower, and be so focused on Wal-Mart that I almost forget my pants. Literally. I mean seriously. I’m sitting at the computer as this devotional pours out of me WITHOUT the jeans I still haven’t chosen. So how cool would it be for this Shabby Chick Christian woman of God to rush off to Wal-Mart pants-less and toss Jesus in the toddler’s part of the shopping cart. Jesus in the shopping cart anyone? Not.
Not at all. Funny, maybe. The image of it, sort of. Kind of. Maybe not. But the point really isn’t how funny of all this sounds, nor how funny how all of this. The real point is how SERIOUS all of this is. When God’s calling, when the LORD OF THE UNIVERSE, is calling, when He’s trying to get MY ATTENTION, after all the times I’ve begged Him to speak to me, look what I do. Toss Jesus in the toddler’s seat in my car, and then stuff Him in the toddler’s part of the shopping cart at Wal-Mart of all places. How American. Wal-Mart of all places. Like I couldn’t even take Him to Macy’s or whatever big, popular, more expensive department store they have around here.
This all leads me to believe that I cannot possibly be the only one who has to take a look at my priorities when the Lord is calling, when He is trying to get my ear to perk up. Am I? You know something. It really doesn’t have altogether as much as people think to do with being busy. I mean sure, busy is part of it. How can busy not be a part of it? Busy is part of EVERYTHING in America these days, isn’t it? But it really has to do with priorities, doesn’t it?
It has EVERYTHING to do with priorities, come to think of it. Because if we all get a little, or a lot, honest with ourselves, it comes down to this. I know how to make time to stop off at the third gas station to get the “perfect” cup of gross coffee, don’t I? I know how to make time to call a friend whom I just spoke to last night, right? I know how to make time to take to pray when I really feel like I absolutely positively need something from God, right? I know how to make time to cry over spilled milk and other messes and spills, don’t I? I know how to make time to stare at the shelf in a grocery store FOREVER to pick the absolutely least-sugary cereal that I will more than likely eat over a six-month period mixed into the favorite cereal that I always go back to. Right?
Wal-Mart, cereal, coffee, toddler seats, missing-my-jeans and other stuff aside, how about taking another look at “Jesus calling.” No, I’m not talking about the book. The bestselling book. Am I jealous of the author? Honestly, I have been. On and off. I mean, her writing gets noticed. REALLY noticed. But I have no right to be jealous. In reality, I’m happy God is using her to draw more people to Him. I think. I mean, not that I”m not happy about that. But are people really being drawn more to Him? Or are people being drawn to more stuff ABOUT Him? I am quite sure some are being more drawn to Him through the author, her gift, and the book. But I’m not so happy about the fact that lots and lots of us are sometimes, if not always, being more drawn to reading a book about Him than we are taking the time to SPEND WITH HIM – loving on Him, being loved by Him, listening to Him, listening to Him, listening. Did I say listening?
Yes. But quite frankly, it’s sort of hard to listen to Jesus when He’s strapped into the child’s part of the little buggy, or so-called shopping cart, at Wal-Mart. I’m not saying it’s not possible. Clearly it’s not impossible, but how possible is it – at least when compared to the possibility of taking the time NOW – when THE LORD IS CALLING?
Okay, so here’s the deal. I have a question for you. And for me. The next time you hear Jesus calling, and I don’t mean the book. Let me start again. To make sure you get it. And me, too. The next time you hear Jesus calling, will you STOP, will you LISTEN, will you TAKE THE TIME to unfasten Him from wherever you have stuffed Him away in the business of your life? Will you set Him back down on His feet, will you open your heart, will you open your ears, will you open the Bible if He is calling you to, and even if He’s not calling you to open the Bible will you do this?
When the Lord calls, will you listen?
Or will you toss Jesus in the nearest shopping cart and get started on your shopping list for stuff that won’t get you into heaven and certainly won’t do much good, if, and when, you get there?
By the way, do they have Wal-Mart in heaven? I can just picture the PA system in heaven’s Wal-Mart?
“Would the family of Jesus Christ please report to Customer Service? We found Him on Aisle 7 where His family seems to have forgotten Him when they hauled off to the deli for lunch meat.”
When Jesus calls, is anybody listening?