God of the parking spots and the holiday sales?

A group of us were sitting in a small group circle on a church retreat, talking about something the speaker said, when I excitedly started talking about how God had recently helped me save money by leading me to a sale on venetian blinds. One of the men in the group called me out. “Um, is that why we seek God? Is this what faith is about—God helping us find sales and parking spots?” Those may not have been his exact words, but he said something to this effect. His words stung and stopped me short. I needed to hear this. And then he went on. He was a church attender, but not really a person of faith. He wasn’t trying to condemn me; but he was truly trying to understand what believing in Jesus was all about.

I blushed and stammered as I slowly realized how self-centered my comments had been. And how self-serving my faith was, consequently. Had it truly become so small? Since when had it centered on God meeting my needs, instead of my serving God and being a part of His vision/dreams?

That conversation was a wake-up call; a significant milestone in my faith journey. It must’ve taken place some 20 years ago but it all came back to me this morning as we read the lyrics to the song “Warrior” at the end of our Body & Soul cardio strength class. In that song, the vocalist says “Faith is my shield. Love is the armor.” And my thought was, “What are we suiting up for? Is it a battle to get the ‘deal of the century’ or a primo parking spot in front of our favorite store? Or is to serve our mighty God? To intercede for others? To be bearers of light and grace in this world’s darkest places?”

This Body & Soul Fitness session theme has a focus on our unstoppable God and His limitless power. I want to call you out, as that acquaintance did for me, those many years ago. As we think of God’s limitless power, whose dreams do we hope to fulfill with it?

I’m not saying that God cannot (or should not) meet our smallest needs. He cares about the details of our lives, obviously. He knows the number of hairs on our heads and what we’re thinking before a word reaches our tongue! I’m simply reminding you of the truth that I needed to be reminded of. It is this: that God’s heart is to reach the world with truth and love; may our lives be girded in His strength to bring it to those around us, to meet His dream, to live out His vision.

Hilda Labrada Gore is a Regional Director and Program Trainer for Body & Soul Fitness. She teaches in Maryland and Washington, DC. She is also the host of the Wise Traditions podcast. For more encouragement from Hilda, go to holistichilda.com.

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