Remember when there were convenience stores everywhere? I mean there were even stores out in the country. Between the little town I lived in as a teenager and the closest big town I can remember at least three such neighborhood gas and grocery places. Two of those stores were so important to the county residents they were called Haugland’s Corner (the store was in a big square curve) and Byer’s Hilltop station (you guessed it, right on a hilltop).
It was nice as a kid growing up to ride to these stores. From the hoop cheese sitting out at Byer’s station to the ice cold Grape Crush drinks in the cola chest in Haugland’s store, there was always something to purchase to ease the summer heat. When I lived in a bigger town there were neighborhood stores as well. One could ride their bicycles to get a loaf of bread for mom, put it in the basket on the front of your bike. It was convenient. It was easy. And everybody knew everybody including the store owner. Nothing was more refreshing on a hot summer day than to walk into the coolness of the little stores.
Most of the home owned convenience stores of the day are closed now. I don’t really know what caused the demise of the little stores; could have been the economy or the mobility of the succeeding generations, but it’s sad. Their façade tells a tale that the generation after us will not know at all. Yes, we can buy whatever they had and more by going to a bigger town and entering a bigger store, but the personal touch and fellowship of owner and purchaser is gone forever.
I am reminded of Jesus, Who left the splendor of Heaven, as the song goes, knowing His destiny. His ministry was not born of convenience. His reconciliation required Him to leave everything that was good and perfect and “heavenly” to come to earth for us. Not just to set up shop to introduce us to Himself, but to live to die, so that we would be reconciled to Him.
The reconciliation of the entire human race meant more to Him than His convenience. He put aside His ease, His honor, His glory and walked as one of us, lived as one of us, died as one of us. You and I beloved were worth it to Him. He moved in as a friend, opened a store of grace and gave it all away. To everyone who came by Him, His offer stood from Isaiah 55, “ Come buy, eat, you who have no money…”
Because of His great love, God poured Himself into community and poured Himself out on the cross. He took our unforgiveness, our trespasses, our sins and nailed every single one of them on the cross. And He did the same for those we love, those we tolerate and those we want to ignore, dismiss and forget.
In God’s store the shelves are full and brimming over with everything you need. There are bushel baskets full of forgiveness, for you and for others. There’s a whole storefront of grace, peace and joy. There’s shelves lined with precious gifts of kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. Everywhere you look, beloved, there is Love. Love is what God’s store is built with and Love is what makes it remain. Long after the stores of yesteryear are bulldozed away, God’s store remains open forever and ever, just for you, even if you were the only patron, He’d have it all for you.
Oh beloved, won’t you stop for a moment on this day and step into God’s storehouse of wonder, awe and blessings – read His Word, listen to His voice and fellowship with Him. He has such wonderful things in store for you! He wants to set up shop in your heart, He wants to give you reconciliation, purpose and faith. He won’t charge you for one thing; it’s all free to you from Him. He will free you from every bondage and more. He wants your open heart to woo others to Him and He wants you to live forever with Him. Everything that needs repair in your life He has the fix for you. No matter what the hurts, the sorrow, the agony, the desperation you may have experienced, in His presence you have all your needs met forever.
Stay close to the Lord and visit with Him often and drinking of the refreshing fellowship daily. He loves you and He’s for you and that’s all that really matters to your heart.
Isaiah 55:1 "Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk Without money and without cost.
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.
2 Corinthians 5:18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.