CRISIS IN THE SUPERMARKETS
Jesus spoke three parables in succession recorded in Luke, Chapter 15.
The parables were The Lost Sheep, The Lost Coin, and The Prodigal Son. These parables are
the same in the lesson that they teach--that there was painstaking effort made to find the lost
object and when found great rejoicing occurred. The spiritual application, of course, is that
our Heavenly Father and the angels in Heaven greatly rejoice when sinners return to the Fold.
Like the parables of Jesus, the three 'parables' I'm going to relate here in Crisis in the Supermarkets involved lost objects, the effort made to find the objects, and the great rejoicing that occurred because the objects were found.
THE PARABLE OF THE LOST POCKETBOOK
My husband John and I went shopping at Walmart. I got a shopping cart and he, because of
sciatica problems, went on the motorized cart. We were looking at things, taking our time to
read labels, etc. As always, I put my pocketbook on the cart. Later, I needed to use the
ladies room so he and I went to that area of the store. I left my cart with the things we were going to purchase and my pocketbook on the cart and parked it where John was. When I got out of the ladies room, we went to the checkout counter to pay. That was when I realized that my pocketbook was gone. John thought that I had taken it with me inside the ladies room. He didn't remember seeing anyone take stuff off my cart.
Needless to say I was upset. I didn't want to go through the hassle of calling credit
card companies, replacing credit cards, closing checking accounts, opening new accounts,
getting another driver's license, etc. I was extremely upset at myself and the world
for being careless.
We reported the stolen pocketbook to the manager who made a public announcement that if
anyone found a black pocketbook to please return it to Customer Service. We waited several minutes to see if anyone would show up, all the while berating the degradation of moral
values in the world. People would steal, kill, and break every law in the book and think
nothing of it. At that moment, I had lost confidence in the goodness, honesty and integrity
of man created in the image of God.
No one showed up to return the pocketbook, and my husband and I left Walmart with heavy
hearts. My mind was going 90 miles an hour thinking of the things I needed to do.
The phone was ringing when we got home. It was Walmart. Someone had returned the
pocketbook. It appeared that everything was intact. The cash, the checkbook, the
credit cards and a debit card were all there.
Talk about rejoicing. We got down on our knees to thank God for his wonderful
dealing with us, but the words would not come out for both my husband and I were weeping for
joy. If the mere return of a pocketbook causes great rejoicing how much more would a human
soul returning to the Fold cause great rejoicing in the Kingdom of Heaven!
Also, this parable teaches a beautiful lesson of trust in our Heavenly Father--that He will
work things out no matter how impossible and hopeless the situation might be. He wants us to put
away forever our worries and fretfulness and trust in His Power and Wisdom to give us peace in
our hearts and calmness in our souls and spirit even if we are minus a pocketbook.
"Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain, we bear;
All because we do not carry,
Everything to God in prayer.
THE PARABLE OF THE LOST MONEY
I was at a checkout counter at a Publix grocery stores with a cart
full of groceries. My son had given me $15 cash to use for groceries, and I was going to
use it to supplement the check that I would write. I had taken out the cash and put it
aside while I wrote the check. However, when I wrote the check, without thinking, I
wrote it for the full amount. I handed the check to the clerk, got my groceries and left.
On the drive home, I remembered the $15. What happened to it? I wrote a check for the
full amount, and I remembered taking out the cash to give it to the clerk with the check.
That's when I realized that I had left the cash right there on the counter. Now, I was at
the mercy of the clerk. If the clerk were honest, I would get my money back; if the clerk
were dishonest, that would be the end of it. I would not see my money.
After I got home and dropped off the groceries, I drove right back to Publix praying the
whole time that the clerk would be honest. I went to the counter where the clerk was. The
first thing she said was that my $15 was at the Lost & Found section of Customer Service.
What had happened was a little girl found the money on the floor and handed it to her who
turned it in to Lost & Found.
I was rejoicing and thanking God for having my lost money returned to me. The little girl,
bless her heart, in returning the money that did not belong to her, solidified in her own
mind the valuable lesson she was obviously taught at home of honesty and integrity. Thank God
for parents who instill moral values in their children.
The lesson in this parable boils down again to trust in our Heavenly Father to see us
through the crisis in our lives. Sometimes He saves us in spite of ourselves.
THE PARABLE OF THE LOST DEBIT CARD
The Sabbath was approaching, and I had to do several things. I had just finished an errand, and I was marveling at how I was making good time. The only thing left to do before I headed home was to pick up a few things from the grocery store. There were many grocery stores close to where I lived, but I chose shopping at Publix because I was familiar with their setup. I
knew exactly where everything was. On Friday, the preparation day, this was especially
important because I didn't want to waste time looking for things.
Everything was going smoothly until I went to the checkout counter. I didn't have my debit
card in my hand. I had left my pocketbook in the car because it was too heavy to carry and was
going around shopping with a bunch of keys and the debit card in my hand. Somehow I must have dropped
it somewhere. I tried backtracking to all the sections I had been to, but no debit card. Another
Publix employee was helping me find the card. We did not find it.
I went home in near panic because this was a debit card, not a credit card. I had just been
recently paid and my husband's social security check had come in so we had a sizeable amount in our checking account. If someone cashes in on my debit card, he would draw money from
our checking account and not from some big credit card company somewhere. I went home to call the Navy
Federal Credit Union, but they were closed and there was no 800 number to call to close a debit
card. So, the next best thing to do was transfer all the money from our account to our son's
account at least for the moment.
I went back to Publix to get the groceries that I had purchased earlier but couldn't pay for because I didn't have the debit card. By now sunset was approaching, and I was hurrying as fast I could to once more retrace the steps I had taken through the store. This time, I opened the freezer where the burritos were and right by the box of burritos was my debit card. I had laid it there when I picked up frozen burritos for my son.
Talk about rejoicing again. I thanked God for not getting tired of looking after
me during my crisis in the supermarkets and helping to avert a real bad situation caused by my own carelessness and absentmindedness.
"And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while
they are yet speaking, I will hear." Isa 65:24.
"I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." Luke 15:7.
The Ninety and Nine
There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold.
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold.
Away on the mountains wild and bare.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care.
'Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?'
But the Shepherd made answer: 'This of Mine
Has wandered away from Me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep,
I go to the desert to find My sheep.'
But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry,
Sick and helpless and ready to die;
Sick and helpless and ready to die.
'Lord, whence are those blood drops all the way
That mark out the mountain’s track?'
'They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.'
'Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?'
'They are pierced tonight by many a thorn;
They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.
And all through the mountains, thunder riven
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven,
'Rejoice! I have found My sheep!'
And the angels echoed around the throne,
'Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!
Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!'
--Elizabeth C. Clephane
The Ninety and Nine Midi