I have made a lot of visits to local stores recently as we have been working on a number of projects in our house. We have been to the large "box" stores and the small hardware stores looking for the materials we have needed. The sales people have been very helpful in general. As we have interacted with fellow shoppers and the store staff one clear observation shot through my mind: We may differ in many ways with other people: culture, religion, affluence, national background...but we all meet in the marketplace. We find every kind of person out there in the stores because we all have the common needs that are attached with living on planet Earth. On weekends we may worship in places as varied as the golf course, the Baptist Church, the fishing hole or the Synagogue with friends and folks with whom we have a high comfort level. But in the marketplace we stand shoulder to shoulder with a common need for toilet plungers and two by fours. And so we find great opportunity to meet, mingle and reflect the love of the Lord (who lives in our hearts) with a very diverse mix as we cross paths in places where our common needs are met. Whether in stores or restaurants or gas stations, or even toll booths, we may find our richest mission fields in the places where cash changes hands and the two most asked questions are: "Paper or plastic?" and "Debit or Credit?". Even if we don't have time to fully share the Gospel message of God's heavenly rescue plan, our attitudes and simple expressions of appreciation and love for total strangers can be stepping stones that the Lord may walk across to touch hearts.
Acts 17:16While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. 17So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.
Mark 6:56And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched him were healed.
blessings (see you in the marketplace),