Are you Living the Dollar Store Life?

I ran in a dollar store to pick up a few items for my daughter's scout troop meeting, my 7-year-old in tow.  I don't know if you have ever taken a child who has money in her pocket into the Dollar Tree before, but just let me tell you that it is an experience! 

The toy aisle was unavoidable.  It might as well have had bright, flashing neon arrows above it with the Pied Piper playing his tune within it.  My children have always been drawn by the lure of inexpensive play things that they could purchase for themselves.  I, however, despise that aisle.  All I could see was what lay ahead - broken toys, pieces that didn't quite go together correctly, land ultimately tears and disappointment.  I try to avoid bringing my children as much as possible to that tempting aisle of dismay.

And yet, how often do we choose the metaphorical dollar store toy?   Our world is full of these tempting opportunities to satisfy ourselves with the quick item that costs us the least amount of effort.  But the truth is, things that last - things of value - are rarely the things that cost us the least amount. 

Think about it, Satan offered Jesus the world, literally.  (Matthew 4:8-9) And in a sense, that is what Jesus came for.  Accepting the offer meant He didn't have to face the cross and the excruciating pain it would entail.  Not only physical pain, but the pain of separation as well.  And it was Satan's to give.  (2 Corinthians 4:4)  But Jesus declines.  Choosing the hard path, the one that led to His ultimate victory.  Jesus turned down the dollar store toy.

And like a good parent, God's desire is that we avoid those tempting, inexpensive choices as well.  The choice to tell a little white lie rather than face the consequences of our actions.  The choice to sacrifice time with our family in order to have a larger bank account than we truly need.  The choice to turn a blind eye to our neighbor in need rather than give of ourself to help him or her.  The choice to sleep in on Sunday morning because we are tired rather than join with our brothers and sisters to worship our Creator.  And so many more. 

And like dollar store toys, it is pleasurable...for a time.  Inevitably, though, what we thought was going to be an inexpensive joy becomes a lackluster, disappointing or even painful experience.  Trust that your Father knows what is best, (Jeremiah 29:11)  listen to His counsel, (Psalm 32:8) and let Him lead. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
*originally published at Coffee with Christ