I live in a typical suburb with PLENTY of shopping plazas in the area. There’s one particular strip mall down the road that has about twenty-five stores with the usual mix of restaurants, drug stores, beauty boutiques, shoe stores, a GNC, a video game store, a Hallmark store, a mini Sears, an office supply store, and a large grocery store. What’s unique about this strip mall is it also has a Christian bookstore tucked away at the extreme far end; one of only two Christian bookstores in the entire county. Now, I’m not a credulous fan of Christian bookstores. They sell a lot of junk including rosaries, statues, and holy medals in their Catholic sections but they also sell Bibles along with many excellent Bible study materials.
So there you have it. A strip mall with twenty-five stores and hundreds upon hundreds of shoppers coming and going all day long, every day. I think about those shoppers. They come to that mall to satisfy their basic needs (food, medications, etc.) as well as to indulge their whimsies. What percentage of those people ever visit the lowly Christian book store? Does it ever even occur to them? They’ve made material items their priority but do they ever wonder about spiritual things? Do they ever wonder about the God who provides them with the food they’re buying or who sustains their beating hearts from one minute to the next?
If there was a store in that plaza that gave away a one-hundred dollar bill to everyone who walked through their doors you can bet there would be a line of people outside stretching two miles long. But this little store has a Book with the key to eternal life and people literally can’t be bothered. How much money would someone pay for a place in Heaven? Well, it can’t be bought. Salvation is a free gift of God by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Believers know God’s Word has the message of eternal life but for the vast majority of people, Bible-shopping is the very last thing they would ever want to do.
“You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.” John 5:39
“Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” – John 6:68
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” – Matthew 4:4
“When (Jesus) saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” – Matthew 9:36-38