Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Have you been to the new Target?"

“Have you been to the new Target?” seems to be the conversation-starter of the month. Our location in Campbell County, Kentucky, just across the river from downtown Cincinnati has always been an ideal location for access to downtown plays and athletic events. We, however, have always had to go several miles to big-box stores of any kind. With a population of 87,000, it’s surprising that stores have been more likely to close here than to open.

So I hear people talking about going to the new Target, which is only five minutes from our house at our usual interstate access point. The buzz about that exit started a little over a year ago when a super-Kroger opened there. The only thing that will exceed the excitement over these two will be if the Kroger gas station ever opens. That will truly transport us all to bliss.

So why does everyone get so excited about store openings? Novelty, of course, but also convenience. We get something we need. We all are so rushed about everything, always behind, never catching up on all we have to do. So saving time—and now, gas money—is appealing.

I’m reminded of the conversation on the road to Emmaus, when Jesus joined Cleopas and his friend.

“Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” Cleopas asked Jesus. Obviously Jesus was the novelty of the day, and his teaching as well as his crucifixion were paramount in people’s minds. So why else were people so interested in Jesus—and so disappointed at his death?

Because people got something they needed. They needed hope. They needed the assurance of life eternally. They needed to be involved in something greater than themselves, and Jesus met that need.

And just as the disciples on the road to Emmaus did not at first recognize Jesus, we often do not initially recognize what we really need. We have the same needs today as those who were contemporaries of Jesus.

We need hope. We need the assurance that this is not all there is. We need to be involved in something greater than ourselves and our own limited interests.

Jesus finally revealed himself to the two disciples, and it’s time we reveal ourselves to our friends and family who do not know Jesus. More and more, I realize that others do not feel the peace and contentment that comes with knowing Jesus. I want to share “the joy of my salvation,” as David referred to it in Psalm 51. If you don’t know Jesus, Psalm 51 is a good prayer to start with.

As I consider my friends and acquaintances, I see certain people that I would approach to know more about Jesus if I were becoming interested in following him. Some that are regular church attenders would not necessarily be chosen, but those who glow with the love of Jesus and the joy of serving others stand out in my mind. So I want to live my life so that I am that person to others.

What question can I ask that will be as engaging as the one about Target, but that will get to the heart of knowing Jesus? I welcome your ideas.

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