Filling Space

You know those machines in stores and certain restaurants that as soon as the kids see them you hear “can I have a quarter?” They dispense everything from gum balls, cheap toys, stickers, and candy. I usually call them gumball machines but they are technically called bulk vending machines. Then there are the bigger ones such as the claw-type games where you can try to win a stuffed animal or something.
They do serve a purpose. These devices fill in open, and as such deemed unsightly, space. Too much open room can give the impression that thev room is empty. Psychologically it may make people think this ain’t the place to be. Open room for the owner is a drain on his wallet. He ot she is paying dearly for every square inch. If it is not being used then what can be done to fill it in? While a plant can be put in the same space or another trash can neither helps the bottom line.
Those vending machines take care of these problems nicely for the owner. The empty space is filled and generally with an attractive looking machine that catches the eye. They aren’t a big drain on the wallet unless they use electricity and that tends to not be much. Plus they pull in money even if only a little at a time.
Yep, these handy little bulk vending machines are a win-win for just about everybody. The owner is happy and some child has a new cheap little trinket to play with.
On a more serious note there are many people out there who treat God like one of these machines. He fills up a little space, His “presence” in their life looks nice, and can have some cheap little trinket.
I saw one of these machines today and it made me think about a man in the Bible called Simon the sorcerer. In Acts chapter 8 Philip came to Samaria preaching Jesus Christ and the need for salvation. Many people in the city believed, accepted Jesus as their savior, and followed in believers baptism. The Bible tells us that Simon also believed (8:13). But at this time in history God was making it known that people had received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands. This was not necessary to actually be saved but was simply a sign to the people then.
In v18 we see that Simon for all intents and purposes thought this to be a sort of bulk vending machine. He recognized that while he had been a powerful sorcerer there was still a great deal of room in his life that needed to be filled. This ability to hand out the Holy Spirit would be a shiny new way for him to make money as well and every one would be happy with what they got.
Hr missed the whole point of it all because he was not truly saved. While he had believed what Philip had preached he had not acted upon it and asked Jesus to save him (v23).
There are many today who are still doing this same thing in their own way. Their version of religion, their personal beliefs that have no truth in them, even their own bibles so they can feel food about what they believe. God however is not some sort of gumball machine, the Holy Spirit is not some cheap trick or trinket to be bought, played with, and then quickly discarded. Too many are changing the Bible to suit their needs. Too many want only the good and none of the set backs. And far too many preach only the blessings and never on sin.
This mentality is having a terrible toll on our country. People compromising everything because they are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. But Jesus said that he came to bring division (Luke 12:51). The Gospel is to most a stumbling block and foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:23). But it is the power of God that can save us Romans 1:16, will keep us 2 Timothy 1:12, and when I sin the same power that will forgive and restore me 1 John 1:19.
He is not taking up space in my life, Jesus is my life.

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