The Online Shopper - Encouragement Café - August 9

The Online Shopper
 By Maria Drayton

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10: 25 NLT

I love a quick-fix.  The quicker, the better.  The microwave, computer, and cell phone all help me to quickly complete my tasks.  And don’t let me get backed up behind a sea of red lights in a traffic jam because my mind immediately attempts to figure out a short-cut. 

I move fast with everything.  I talk fast, I walk fast, I type fast, I think fast, etc….  In fact, I even ran fast as a young adult so my team called me “Speedy”. My mom heard them one day and agreed and used her own spin, “Ria, you are as quick as a whip.” I would take pride in how fast I could run, talk, walk, etc.  Remember: “the quicker, the better.”

Over the past months I’ve become busier in life so in an effort to maximize my time, I implored more “short-cuts”.  So maybe instead of sitting with God in the morning and talking with Him, I would read a quick devotional and a scripture and that was good enough.

Not only did I abandon the time spent but when it came to church I began to watch online instead of attending service. I justified that with, “My church is so far away, and I’m still listening to the Word.”  

Even with my friends, I texted them instead of picking up the phone to call them. “I’ll send a scripture or prayer via text to let them know I’m thinking of them,” was my thought.  The quick-fix. If I got around to actually making the phone call; sometimes it was spent “multi-tasking” and really not giving the person 100% of my attention during the call.

I’ve even abandoned my love of shopping in stores and now go online to browse. “Maximizing my time”, I told myself is of the utmost importance. Recently, I returned to the stores and realized the many differences I had missed while shopping online. The greeter, “Can I help you find something?”  Or maybe it was the clearance rack. 

Then again maybe it was the variety that wasn’t available online. I even realized by the time I was at the register I didn’t have all of the coupons, which the cashier realized and applied for me. All these things I had missed with my “quick-fix” solution of online shopping.

But what about church and my time with God?  It was the same thing. I had begun treasuring my time instead of my time with God. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).  I hadn’t thought I had abandoned it, in my mind I was more efficient.  I was wrong.  

Just like when I went to the store, I noticed so many differences from watching church online vs being in church. The greeter met me with a smile and a blessing as I entered the sanctuary. We had time to sit in prayer as a church. Praise and worship created the atmosphere in which God inhabits. I even shared laughter with those who sat beside me. 

The message pierced my soul in a way that it couldn’t when online.  “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NIV. (emphasis mine) I realized that I had allowed my need for speed to influence my walk with my Lord. 

I had abandoned what I held sacred, communion.  Let us take a good look at our lives and hearts to find out what we truly treasure.  The Spirit of God does not move online.  Let us view it as just a resource, not a substitute.

Heavenly Father, I thank You for showing me, me.  Let me slow down enough to get back to basics in my life.  Allow me to hear and see others when they speak and look them in their directly in their eyes.   Allow me to attend church regularly again and don’t allow my need for speed to miss You and what You want to do in my life.  My desire is to do Your will.  Let me NOT be wise in my own eyes but always looking to You as my director and path-maker. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

© 2019 by Maria Drayton.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Tuesday, 09 August 2022.