August 1996
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Parking Lot Christianity

Long lines of cars were filling up the huge parking lot of a church where I was attending a conference. As I parked, I noticed the word Love on a lightpost in one section. In another area, I saw the word Faithfulness. The next day I pulled into a different lot at the same church and saw Patience on another sign. Like numbers in a mall parking lot, these words help people find their cars.

No doubt these signs served another purpose. After each session, some people were in a hurry to get home— even cutting others off to get out of the lot. Patience wore thin and tempers flared. How appropriate those signs are! I thought. It’s amazing how quickly the love we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ can disappear in a parking lot!

Martin Luther told of reading the Scriptures and praying until his heart was filled with love for his fellowman. But how quickly that love disappeared when a person with offensive body odor sat down beside him!

The testing of our faith may not come through severe oppression or heavy burdens. It’s more likely to occur in a checkout line, on the expressway, or in a parking lot. That’s where we’ll know whether we’ve really become serious about our faith in Christ.

Help us, O Lord, to live our lives
So people clearly see
Reflections of Your loving heart,
Your kindness, purity. —Sper

The clear sign of your faith is not what you say but what you do.