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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: Stalking the Choicest
By Diana Richardson
03/03/07


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Stalking the Choicest

Shopping is one of my favorite pastimes. I love a bargain so much that Iíll go to store after store until I find exactly what I want for just the right price. End of season sales are the best chance to bag a bargain. Now that we have the internet there is no limit to the possibilities of price or place. I can shop Australia as easily as the U. S.

Even when I have no money I still like to shop, window shopping itís called. I can scope out the best price for when I have money again. Of course, I probably wonít remember where it was. If I do remember, the item I liked wonít be there or the price has gone up. Iíve even caught myself buying things, just in case I may need it later. Sometimes I actually do need it later, but most of the time it only takes up space in my closet.

Shopping is a particularly female form of hunting and gathering. Itís the thrill of the hunt. I may be better at finding bargains than my best friend and Iíll brag about every conquest. Itís a skill we learn early and we get lots of practice in our blessed world. The basics are simple and easy to apply. We decide what we want and go after it. I want red shoes and I donít want to pay more than $20.00 for them. Then Iíll follow my past sites of shoe conquests to search hard and with determination.

We can apply the same skill to almost anything. The teenager decides she wants to date a football star. Sheíll pick out her prey and be found wherever he may be, coincidentally of course. If we want a promotion, weíll follow just the right steps to be noticed by the right people. You get the picture.

The problem is that we also apply it to the spiritual as well. We want a church home. We decide exactly what we want in a church, small, large, rich congregation or a good place to network. We want an eloquent preacher, fun youth group or grand musicals. Of course, some of us are concerned about what they teach. We may visit many congregations until we hear what we want to hear. After all, they must match our beliefs, right?

Maybe God doesnít want shoppers. Maybe our criteria should be a bit different for the Spiritual. Maybe, just maybe, we should be asking God what a church should be. Perhaps Heíd be more pleased if we know His word well enough to choose the congregation that most closely follows the Jesus.

Instead of looking for a place that fits our plans we need to see if it fits Godís plan. Some of us want a large church where we can get overlooked and never asked to do anything. If we get to know Jesus we should want a place with plenty for us to do to serve. Many times we think we know our talents, but God knows them better. We may want to work in the service of the poor giving out food. God may be directing us to the congregation that needs a counselor for the young or encourager for the elderly.

Our greatest strength comes in humble obedience to Godís commands and leading rather than our own choices. Godís word is not a store from which to pick and choose as we wish, but must be taken in its entirety. Take it all and make yourself in His style.


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This article has been read 463 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Paynter03/08/07
A strong devotional with a good message. Well done.
Cynthia Chandler03/08/07
Loved the article and the fact that I wasn't sure where you were going until you got there.
Jacquelyn Horne03/09/07
Good advice. Study the neighborhood (Word) before you buy a house (or choose a church).
Myrna Noyes03/12/07
This is an insightful piece that I enjoyed reading.
Marilee Alvey03/14/07
You make some good points here. I liked the way you innocently roped us in. As I read, I said, "Amen...amen!" However, later, you convicted me in the way that, all too often, we shop for things we have no business shopping for. I can just see the early house churches. Do you suppose people shopped for them by finding out it they put on children's musicals or what kind of mission trips they went on? Keep writing. You've got talent.
Donna Emery03/14/07
I also like this. The title didn't clue us in but your skillful writing kept us interested until we were well into the message. Well written. Nice job!
Deborah Porter 03/20/07
Diana, this was very clever. I started off thinking it was going to be a pretty standard "shop-aholic" type piece, and then you brought in that zinger halfway through. Good work. As you continue to hone your skill, I see a lot of potential as a good inspirational writer.

The things that let your entry down were very small, but happened often enough to take the edge off your work. For example, this sentence:

"Iíve even caught myself buying things, just in case I may need it later."

You went from plural (things) to singular (it) while talking about the same item(s). It should have been "I've even caught myself buying things, just in case I may need them later." Or, "I've even caught myself buying something, just in case I may need it later." As I said, really little mistakes, but they detracted from what was a very good, strong piece.

I'm sure we'll see you go from strength to strength as you continue to rise to the Challenge.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator and Editor, FaithWriters' Magazine)