The Everyday Girl Guide to: Wholesale vs Retail Customers (Praying Only In Adversity)

June 24, 2013

This weekend, our sermon was on worship.  The pastor made a great analogy in the middle of the sermon.  He said (very paraphrased), “Everyone prays at some point.  Sometimes they pray in desperation and then wonder why God doesn’t answer their prayers.  This is like a one-time customer expecting to step ahead of a regular customer.”

This struck a nerve with me because I work for a wholesale hardware store that will cater to the retail public.  Our regular customers tend to get slightly better pricing, credit terms, and slightly better service than Joe Schmo off the street.  Why?  Because we have a relationship.

While I think that God listens to any genuine prayer (and He’s certainly not limited to a one-customer-at-a-time policy), He is still a God of relationships.  Maybe a faithful, longtime believer gets at least the feeling of priority because they know what it feels like to have God speaking to them.

I think the only real trump card in this situation is when someone prays the sinner’s prayer and gives God their life.  This is like the rare time when we get a one-time, $40,000 customer.  We walk that guy to the head of the line because he’s giving us something huge.   In the same way, a sinner coming to saving grace is giving their entire life– something pretty priceless.  His credit is definitely good; he’s paying with the blood of the Lamb.  He’s going to have God’s attention and (if he’s genuine), know it.

To take that a step further, we have some long-time customers who are not-so-faithful about paying up.  They rely on credit and their long relationship with us to get them by.  In the same way, a lot of Christians rely on a long-time relationship with God and a lot of blood-of-the-Lamb credit to get them to the next credit card.  They don’t pray all the time and they don’t grow; they just check in when they need something or feel like they have to pay their statement up. 

I’ve been struggling my way out of debt for a couple of years now.  I can tell you that there is absolute dread when an unknown number comes up on my phone.  I think “credit card” Christians tend to feel the same way.  Church feels like a blame game because they have something to pay up.  Prayer feels like nothing but a confessional.  There’s no relationship… just avoidance of the bill collector.

God’s not a retail store, so this analogy isn’t perfect.  But it still has a realness to it that I couldn’t shake.  I don’t want to be any version of a credit card pray-er.  I want prayer to be me having a conversation with someone I love, respect, and listen to.  I can’t do that as a retail Christian.  I have to buy into this relationship completely or not at all.

Time to be a wholesale Christian.

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