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God Wants You to Buy Magazines
At least that's what the salesman who came to my door last week said. After ten excruciating minutes of small talk sprinkled with flattery by a man sweating with desperation, this 'man' (a title to be earned and not given) finally got to the point. Antonio wanted me to buy magazines from him. Needless to say, I did not.
Politely, I declined his offer not for lack of personality, nor effort, but for lack of interest in his product. No, I do not need a year's subscription to "Maxim" for Great Grandma Claire, but thank you for offering Mr. Salesman. Call it the heat or mental exhaustion from saying the same sales pitch all day long from door to door like a perpetual Ground Hog's Day, but Antonio Salesman lost his patience and his mind with it. "It's not about the magazines ma'am. I don't care about these magazines any more than you do. It's about doing to others as you would have done unto you. If you were trying to make a living selling magazines, wouldn't you want someone to buy them from you!" According to Antonio, God wants you to buy magazines.
I tell this story not to condemn a man who is no more guilty of using God than you or I, but to find it in my heart and on this blog where all men and women have done the same.To avoid falling into the same trap that Antonio did, we must answer, "What is the difference between using God and being used by God?"
We have all used God. Some use Him for financial gain. While TV preachers leave us with an abundance of examples, salesman, corrupt disciples, and the lack of tithing during difficult financial times, makes me think more of us can relate to Antonio than we would like to admit.
Some people use God for the upper hand. If you have ever gotten to the end of a heated argument with your spouse and humbly shouted, "Why don't you pray about that?," then you may have used God for the upper hand! If you have ever used your profound Biblical knowledge to prove why you are right and the other person is wrong (no pride in that, right?), you may have used God for the upper hand. We would be wise to remember Job 42:3, "You (God) asked, 'Who is this that made my purpose unclear by saying things that are not true?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand; I talked of things to wonderful for me to know." God doesn't take sides. We do. Whether on the left side or the right side, the only side I want to be on is His.
Some people use God to get their way. "Cleanliness is next to Godliness", "King James Version is God's version," and "Jesus is Republican," are just a few of the ways we manipulate others to behave accordingly. I don't care which way you go as long as you know (and believe), Jesus is the Way. John 3:18-21, "People who believe in God's son are not judged guilty. Those who do not believe have already been judged guilty, because they have not believed in God's one and only Son. They are judged by this fact: The Light has come into the world, but they did not want light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. All who do evil hate the light and will not come to the light, because it will show all the evil things they do. But those who follow the true way come to the light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God."
When we use God, we start with more than we end up with. When God uses us, we end up with more than we started with.
When God uses us, we have been given a great avantage. When we use God, we take advantage.
God uses us to help others. Too often we use God to hurt others.
When God uses something, He gives it purpose. When we use God the wrong way, we consume instead of give.
The greatest difference is this, when God uses us, we serve. When we use God, we put something or someone into service. The definition of use is, "to make something serve one's own purpose." We can trust God to use us because His purpose is always good. What is your purpose?