The Grocery Cart

It had been three weeks since I had done any proper grocery shopping, and as I pulled the grocery cart out of the storage area it occurred to me that I would probably end up filling it all the way to the top. Except for the child seat, that is. That was the area I always reserved for my mother's groceries, and since she lived alone, it rarely ever filled up.

But today was different. My mother was expecting company for the weekend, and as she pushed herself along beside me in her wheelchair, grocery list in hand, it didn't take long for her child's seat to overflow. Half-way through the store I found myself reorganizing the load to make another spot for her things, and between the two of us, the rack underneath the cart was soon full and I even had a few taller items riding on the handle!

By the last aisle it had become a real challenge to put even one more item in that poor, burdened cart, let alone to push it without something falling off. But the last aisle is always the place where you pull out your list, just to make sure you didn't miss anything. Sure enough, we had both forgotten several items, and we began scooting all over the store to pick them up. A few moments later, I found myself pushing my groaning cart with one hand, while I balanced two frozen pizzas, a can of frozen orange juice, two bags of frozen veggies and a box of pop tarts in my other. This might have been a major challenge in itself, but it was made even more difficult by the fact that there wasn't even a fist-width of handle exposed on the grocery cart!

As I slowly and carefully manoeuvred my way to the check out stand, I caught up with my mother. She was now slowly manoeuvring her wheelchair with one hand while the other balanced a frozen pizza, a sack of grapes, a half-gallon of juice, a box of cookies, and a dozen cans of pop. I had to laugh! What a pair we made!

I may have been laughing, but the clerk wasn't. For some reason she suddenly had this fascination with her watch, and as she fervently glanced from it to us, the lines of worry around her eyes deepened. To make matters worse for her, the only place for me to put down my "extras" so that I could unload my mother's things from the cart was on the conveyor belt! The poor clerk had no idea whose items were whose!

Thirty minutes later, we were finally finished. The clerk quickly put a "closed" sign on her conveyer belt and began counting her money. I could only guess that we had kept her at work past the end of her shift, but at least the double mound of groceries was finally paid for and bagged, just waiting to be returned to the grocery cart for its final trip to our respective cars. Only one problem remained: If we couldn't fit all of that food in the cart BEFORE we paid, how did we expect to fit it all in AFTERWARDS???

I lit into the task, and within minutes the cart was again straining under its load. The only problem was that half of the groceries were still sitting on the conveyer belt! It took two trips just to get our groceries OUT of the store!

Later, as I thought about that groaning, overflowing grocery cart, it occurred to me that this is a perfect example of the life of a Christian. When we accept Jesus into our lives (our grocery carts!), and live according to His will, our lives are guaranteed to change, to be filled up until they overflow with the goodness of God.

This reminds me of a Bible story I recently read. The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had been granted their inheritance on the far side of the Jordan River. Nevertheless, they willingly marched over the river and fought with their brothers to take the land of Canaan, and they didn't return to their own homes until the task was completed. We pick up the story in Josh 22:1-5: "When Joshua sent [the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh] home, he blessed them, saying, 'Return to your homes with your great wealth-with large herds of livestock, WITH SILVER, GOLD, BRONZE AND IRON, AND A GREAT QUANTITY OF CLOTHING-and divide with your brothers THE PLUNDER FROM YOUR ENEMIES.'" (Josh 22:1-5, 7,8)

Notice that they returned with GREAT WEALTH! They had obeyed the Lord, and God had filled up their grocery carts!

And why not? Hasn't God promised to bless His people? "You will eat the fruit of your labor; BLESSINGS and PROSPERITY will be YOURS." (Ps 128:2 NIV); and "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, GRACIOUSLY GIVE US ALL THINGS?" (Rom 8:32-33).

And how can you get God to pour all of these blessings out upon you? By living in obedience to Him! By following His will, by having faith in His provision!

Friends, does your life seem a bit empty these days? Let God in. Live in obedience to Him, follow His will, and live by faith in His provision! When you do, it is guaranteed that your life will begin to resemble my cart from last week's shopping trip! It will soon be graining and straining under its load, and it will be necessary to carry some of the blessings in your hand!

Let God fill you up to overflowing, my friends!

Lyn Chaffart

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