An “Attention Walmart Shoppers” Tale That’s Entirely True
It was the opportunity of a lifetime. There was no way on planet Earth I could pass it up. All four of my kids were in tow to run errands at Walmart. Not that the merchandise I was hunting for was a necessity, but more than anything, this Supercenter allowed Sydney, Bailey, Miller, and Georgie to work out the wiggle worms. Plus, on a pastor’s salary, the adventure was free, so I took advantage of such freebies whenever possible.
Over the loudspeaker came the familiar “Attention Walmart shoppers.” this time, however, there was a twist, a set of Ginsu Knives were being demonstrated. It was entertainment, and it was free. But the clown-show soon to unfold was worth a fortune.
Providentially, the host had yet to arrive for the assembled audience of at least 50 shoppers. The elevated stage was set with a mic, loudspeaker, props, and shiny collector sets of Ginsu Knives. And for a limited time only, a free cheese shredder was thrown in, a $29 value in and of itself.
“Y’all will love this, so sit tight,” I whispered to the kids before whisking up on stage. Not wanting to waste a second of showtime, I felt I was born for this moment; I turned the speaker volume up, grabbed the mic, semi-covering it with my hand for a booming effect. All I could think to belt out was, “Attention Walmart Shoppers…ARE….YOU….READY??
My offer to the crowd was simple: whoever did the best job of following the leader wins a free set of Ginsu Knives and, for a limited time only, a free cheese shredder thrown in, mind you, a $29 value in and of itself. Four little person eye-witnesses can verify every aspect of the account that unfolded like this:
“My name is George, but you can call me ‘Cool G.’ If you like Walmart, I want you to stand on one leg. Ok, if you love Walmart, start hopping on one leg. If you rreeealllyyy love Walmart, like an over-the-top type of love, keep hopping on one leg while turning in circles. Now pump those arms in the air while yelling, “We love Walmart! We love Walmart! We love Walmart!”
It was a spectacular site to behold: grown-ups by the dozens hopping like bunny rabbits in circles on one leg, arms waving about while shouting how much they love Walmart. Purely marvelous. My kids have never been more in awe of their dad in that moment. And I promise you: I may stink in a pulpit or behind a podium, but I was good on that Ginsu Knife stage. I mean, really good.
Statistics bearing true, many Christians, including many of you, are allowing church leaders, like pied pipers, to lead them down roads not designed to be traveled on. Unlike the Walmart shoppers who blindly followed my lead, the stakes for church-goers are significantly higher, not just fun and games. I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. And also, I have written these things to you concerning those leading you astray. 1 Jn. 2:26
I could find at least 54 warnings in the New Testament against sham teachings; behind each lie sham teachers. If you have kids, could their apathy toward God be a learned behavior from the church you drag them to? It’s an excellent point to consider.
These points may be well-taken, “but how do I distinguish what’s authentic versus what’s fake?” you may think. Well, nothing beats seeking the answers yourself, so I provided a list of verses to look up below. Second, a person’s character is a dead giveaway. Always. Chinks in the armor might not appear super evident at first. So, you must:
LOOK! Observe, gaze, and analyze; intently so. If inauthenticity is present, it’ll eventually rear its actual head. Is it bad to scrutinize pastors, elders, and deacons? Not at all. It’s a command. Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. “Test” is an imperative, which is a pounding-the-podium type expression.
A four-year-old girl was at the pediatrician for a check-up. The doctor looked in her ear with an orthoscope and asked, “Do you think I’ll find Big Bird here?” The little girl stayed silent. Next, the doctor took a tongue depressor and looked down her throat. “Do you think I’ll find the Cookie Monster down there?” Again, the little girl was silent. Then the doctor put a stethoscope on her back. As he listened to her heartbeat, he asked, “Do you think I’ll hear Barney in there?” “Oh, no!” the little girl replied. “Jesus is in my heart. Barney’s on my PJ’s.” If Jesus is in the hearts of those leading you, I promise you’ll hear His voice. And if the voice isn’t His, don’t be fooled. It’s not just fun and games.