Out of Order

Matt 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men." NIV

It was a sweltering July day in Ontario. Heat waves could be seen over the surface of the road. The stench of burning rubber filled the air as cars lined up on the side of the road to have their flat tires replaced. People were panting, their sweat dripping from their foreheads and armpits. Unquenchable thirst was everyone's number one concern and beverage vendors were making a fortune.

Even my van was thirsty, and as I finished filling its empty tank with fuel, I noticed a few of my fellow gas station customers grouped around something at the corner of the building. They seemed to be upset.

"Probably the heat," I thought as I made my way towards them in search of the washroom. I couldn't help but notice what they were gathered around, however. It was the station's vending machine, and it wore a huge "Out of Order" sign right where you would normally put in the money. Was THIS what they were so upset about? I slowed my steps to listen:

"Can you imagine that! You can satisfy your car's needs but not your own," one muttered under his breath.

"Why don't you try going inside?" I suggested. "These places always have a cold box of drinks where you pay for your gas!"

It seemed like a novel idea to this wilting bunch of people, and they all raced for the door.

It was obvious that there wasn't a washroom on the outside of the building, so I decided to follow the crowd inside. Sure enough, we were met with another display of mouthwatering, ice cold beverages. Just looking at them made you thirsty! But they were in a locked cold box! There was no access to these delicious looking drinks!

"May I please have a drink? I am dyyyyyyying of thirst. Please help me."

"Sorry ma'am. The only liquids available can be found in the washroom and at the gas pump. The vending machine is broken and the cold box is locked!"

"But . . . I can pay!"

The attendant shook his head. "I'm sorry. I don't know how to fix the vending machine, and I can't open the cold box because I've lost the key!"

Desperate, one of the bunch began banging on the cooler, but to no avail. The lock was still firmly in place.

"I'm sorry," repeated the attendant. "All you can do is enjoy the sight of these mouthwatering drinks, but you can't have any until the repair man comes."

"Repair man? When will he be coming?"

"Hopefully next week, but probably not until next month."

"Next month! I can't wait that long! I will be buried by then. Why can't he come now?"

"It seems we are not the only ones who have nonfunctioning vending machines and locked cold boxes."

"What good do vending machines and cold boxes do, then?"


This makes me wonder about another question: What good is a Christian who doesn't try to satisfy the spiritual thirst of others? Stress and work are never ending, but does this justify us for ignoring the needs of others?

"I am thirsty, please help me!"

Rob Chaffart

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