For those of you that shop at big box stores, such as Sam’s Club or Costco, you may be able to identify with this true story.
On a recent shopping trip to Costco, I walked past a sample cart that had products such as hand lotion, age-fighting creams, etc. I usually don’t have a problem passing up the chicken tenders or the latest pasta samples, but this one stopped me in my tracks. After all, the last thing I want is dry, wrinkly skin.
Since there was no one manning the station, I pumped a small amount of what I thought was hand lotion into my hand. The bottle was labeled “trial,” so I knew this would be OK. As I tried to rub the lotion into my hands, they became sticky, not smooth and silky like I had imagined.
Soon, the salesperson arrived and apologized for not being there to help me. She told me that I had put hand soap on my hands rather than lotion. After rinsing my hands off, I thanked her and tried to walk away. But, of course, like any good salesperson, she called me back.
Since I had used her product, I felt obligated to listen to her pitch. She began to tell me all the benefits of her very expensive products. The more she talked and the more she rubbed different types of lotions on my arm, the more I wanted to buy the entire set, which was completely out of my price range. Thankfully, before I caved, I came to my senses, thanked her, and walked away.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the same can happen in our spiritual lives.
If we don’t pay attention, something may creep into our lives that will not benefit us spiritually. I assumed the bottle contained lotion, but had I read closer, I would have seen that it was clearly marked hand soap.
There are things that can come into our lives that, at first glance, aren’t what they appear to be. Are we blindly going through life, grasping at the things that look good even though they’re not good for us? Like the last verse of the Song of Zion “Checking On Me” states, “Are my eyes viewing the things that they should, And are my ears hearing but only the good?”
I’m sure we all have put soap into our hands that we thought was lotion, but with God’s help, we can catch ourselves and get back to a better place in our relationship with God. As Paul writes to the Philippians, even if you take the soap by mistake, keep pressing on towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.