Very Recently I found myself patrolling the halls of school with the rumbling in my stomach that could only mean one (appropriate) thing: It was time to EAT!!!. One big problem, I had no time to go to the various cafeterias. Therefore I set out on a voyage for every busy stressed out student's best friend..... The Vending Machine. As I approached it I scanned over it's depleted contents and quickly found the crown jewel I'd been searching for: REESE"S PIECES! I paid my money and anxiously awaited as the claws of fate swirled around to let it fall down to the bottom where I could pick it up.
As I sat in class popping these chocolate covered peanut butter clusters into my mouth I immediately sensed joy. In the place of my stress-inhibited busy school day filled with homework and activities, I found a calming peace and relaxation. It was after I had eaten and inhaled every last crumb that I asserted to myself "Now that's why I bought you." I was extremely satisfied with my purchase.
It was in that moment and over the next several days that I began to contemplate has Christianity sometimes turned what has the potential to be the most powerful life changing relationship in the planet into nothing more than a Vending Machine Relationship.
Please allow me to explain. As you know with a Vending Machine we put our money into it in order to receive our treat, I can't help but wonder looking at my life and others if we don't sometimes do the same with God. We wake up and pray not to talk to God but in order to ask for blessings over our day. To ask for healing for our loved ones, To ask for guidance with our future spouse, To ask for help resisting sin. Then we sit and wait for what we "purchased" through our prayers and quiet time. We read our Bibles not to grow and challenge ourselves but we do it just to be putting more money in the machine. We tell God "Hey I'm here praying and reading now it's your turn to do me a favor."
Have we truly became so arrogant that we forget that God owes us NOTHING!!! He is the Creator that in His great love wasn't content to just sit back and idly watch his creation fall to ruin. He sent his only Son to this earth to live and die for us,to endure the cup of wrath, to literally go through hell for us, to pay the price that we could never pay.
However the greatest travesty is some of us have even turned the Gospel into a Vending Machine as well. We say "Jesus I'll ask you into my heart, and I'll pray a prayer as long as I get that whole eternal life thing in exchange. Hell sounds like a pretty brutal place God so I'll give you my life as long as I get heaven in exchange."
" This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ."
This is what John 17:3 tells us. The word know there is the greek word meaning to know someone due to a RELATIONSHIP with them. We have missed the point of the Gospel!!! Salvation is not some meal plan to get you into the cafeteria (Heaven) the true point of Salvation is that we now get to have a relationship with the one true Father. To pray to him in the morning and say as my good friend John Rerick says "God I'm here because I love you". I want to pray to you and read your Word so I can come to find out more about
Jesus Christ paid the price for us! He wants a true impacting relationship with us, my heart is that we as the church wouldn't miss out on this. The gift that Paul says all things in comparison are rubbish, the relationship that David held onto through thick and thin, the relationship that enboldened Peter to transform from a denying coward to a passionate preacher. Let's be a generation that pursues that type of relationship, and isn't foolish enough to waste time at the Vending Machine.