Distractions and the Market Place
My market place venture has turned into quite the eye opener. People not only come to look and to sometimes buy, but they want to talk. They want to talk about life and their beliefs…and feelings. To my surprise, I have found that many people are distracted and even held by outside forces which they want to talk about. These forces have become a part of their beliefs. I will write of what I mean in a moment.
As I shared with my readers recently, I opened a space in an antique center in Florida. While in Virginia, I started my second career from educator to decorator. It seems I have a creative side that has to have attention. My space gives me opportunity to sell my collection of art and antiques that I have collected from around the world as well as promote my bent for photography.
The day I opened, I placed a large cross on the wall; dedicated the space to God, which may have something to do with what I am about to tell you. It has turned out that the quiet, tranquil spot at the antiques center ,which I painted in red and black, has attracted a great deal of attention….in an odd sort of way. Three different people stopped in their tracks as they approached my space and had unusual things to say to me. Yes, I said three people, but allow me to digress. The teacher side is about to appear.
I began to think about these events and the Rule of THREE, as we read about it in history and math. Abe Lincoln wrote in his 1859 autobiography concerning this rule (“…read, write and cipher the rule of Three”. Others say difficult things come in threes…such as 2 funerals may mean a third will happen. On a happier note, we speak of things in threes like the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In math, the rule of three had to do with proportion. To cipher to the rule of 3,9 and 2 is to complete the phrase 3 is to 9 as 2 is to __ or in other words, ciphering the rule of three is to solve a proportion such as 3/9=2/x and x=6.
You say, ” What does this have to do with the antique space? ” Nothing really, except that I began to think how strange that three different people, totally unrelated, said to me the following about my space and about me.
- Person #1 ” Wow, I came into this area and thought I had strolled into a Zen garden…”
- Person #2 “I see you have a statue of St. Francis and Russian icons on the wall. I am from Boston and am in Florida to meet with people who speak to the dead. That is what I do…”
- Person #3 ” I really sense something here. You have a strong angel presence around you. My wife reads cards….”
I am certain that my mouth fell open somewhat. However, with each of them, I shared my love for Christ and spoke of my trips to Mongolia, Guatemala and places where God had led me to do mission work. The art gave opportunities to talk about these parts of the world with them. It was odd to me that with the last two people also spoke of Christ. One even said that she had been baptized a Christian. My question was ,”What was their real relationship with God’s Son? ” How did she stray or become distracted from the gospel and Christ Himself…to fortune telling…and leading people in conferences on the dead? These are not people I meet everyday.
We are living in a day where people talk much about being “spiritual” rather than Christian or other religions. Being “spiritual” encompasses much territory. Some call this New Age. We as Christians must be careful and try the spirits, as we are told to do in the Holy Scriptures. We must also be ready to talk to those who would talk to us; asking God’s guidance in revealing to us a person’s needs. So often Christians want to run the other way. Christ did not run the other way when He was confronted. Whether it is the market place or the highway, God uses people who are willing to speak for Him. No one said to preach on the corner…but to be available. I knew a person once who traveled the country; thumbing and hitching a ride; talking about Christ to whomever gave him a lift. Some Christians feel at home sitting on a bar stool and asking God to open the door to speak to the hurting soul drowning his sorrow. These options would not be my approach, but God is not asking me how to reach humanity with His message.
My market place experience has made it clear to me in just these three conversations that some people are more deeply involved in these distracting practices than others. The “Zen garden” man was simply sharing his sense of peacefulness that my husband and I experienced in the Japanese gardens of Kyoto and Tokyo recently. The ” bring them back from the dead lady” was much more involved in this ritual and thought she was doing God’s will as a Christian. She is either ignorant of or choosing to ignore the Scriptures that warn us of such activities. Satan can come as an angel of light if he wishes to do so. My sense was that she was playing with fire….not only distracted from Christ, but pulled away from Him by the very spirits that she is now using to influence others.
Those who have lost loved ones and miss them greatly are the most vulnerable to those who come with a message of reaching them. God tells us that there is a great gulf fixed, but we look forward to that day when we too will meet those gone before as we are welcomed by our Saviour. We are warned not to be deceived.
Have people had experiences with God’s presence? Has He on occasion revealed Himself for certain purposes? The answer is yes. He continues to meet some with the unexplainable. These unusual events may not be the norm, but in every case or testimony of such happenings, God has changed a life so dramatically that His Son receives the honor and glory in the life of the person. He has His reasons and purposes. In general, He is calling us to be faithful….not looking for signs and wonders. We are told that blessed are those who believe and have not seen.
A friend of mine in Virgina once said that God does a work in the market place ( any business area) because there are those who would never enter a church….and this is what Christ did when he went out to those who were lost…to seek and to find…to rescue the perishing…to share His love and to admonish “go and sin no more.” He was not offended by the adulterer, the thief, the unbeliever. He reached out to share His Father’s love to the individual and to the crowd.
It certainly has made me look at those people strolling through the market place differently. I have always said this prayer: “Lord, I am willing to be willing.” So if You are sending me the Zen man, or woman out on a limb, or Card readers, bring them on. We definitely know you work outside the law of threes! “God, keep us from distractions. May we be focused totally on Christ.”
Surely God does not want us to seek other things that move us away from His only Son…the Son Who came to give us life and to give it more abundantly. The Holy Scriptures are clear about this. For those of you who want to see these Scriptures, Click here for list of Scriptures on this subject. Happy shopping. Take a long look at the people there. It may be God’s Market Place.