Yesterday I was forced to go to the grocery store. I say “forced” because it was the last thing I wanted to do. We had just gotten home the night before from a 4-day trip, and the cupboard was truly bare. I chose a place fairly close to my house and struck out like a woman-on-a-mission.
Before I even got inside the door, I regretted my choice. By the entrance, a nasty garbage can was the greeter. “Please, people, pressure wash the thing!” The glass doors were grimy with fingerprints, and the rugs between the door and the carts were stained and threadbare. I soldiered on.
I had to search for celery and green onions, and the fruit selection was very generic and small. The aisles were narrow and crowded. Many items on my list were missing from the shelves or so well-hidden that I gave up my search. Not a single employee greeted me or asked if I needed help. Not one.
Then, I made the mistake of going to the Ladies’ Restroom. Paper littered on the floor, a corroded ceiling vent, a mirror hung awkwardly — it just shouldn’t have been that way.
The ONLY POSITIVE THING I could even name as I described the scene to my husband later was that Christian praise music was playing in the background. But, even that, seemed wrong. Just wrong.
As you know, I am a 66+-year-old product of Southern Baptist churches, so I have heard Ministers of Music utter the phrase “God inhabits the praises of His people” hundreds of times. Whether or not, that is completely the interpretation of Psalm 22:3 is a debate for another day. Psalm 22:3 (King James Version) — “But thou art holy, O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” But, for the purposes of this post, let’s just think about that for a moment. If God does indeed inhabit/dwell in/make His home in the praises of His people, then God could well have been there while that music was playing yesterday. There is also the point that we as Christians carry “The Kingdom of God” inside of us as we go about, but that, too, can be discussed later. My point is that it seemed terribly wrong for praise and worship music to be played in a place that was not doing business with excellence.
God and excellence are synonymous, don’t you think? Isaiah 12:5 (KJV) “Sing unto the Lord; for He hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth.” Everything He created was/is perfect and excellent. His plan and provision for our salvation is perfect/excellent. The heaven where He dwells and where we will be with Him one day is excellent/perfect.
At any rate, it just seemed completely incongruous to me to find praise music in a store that was clearly NOT striving for excellence. I should, of course, insert a shout-out to Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A, businesses who openly wave the banner of Christianity and showcase stores that are attractive, orderly and provide excellent service. And, for further thought, aren’t we supposed to strive for excellence in our churches, our worship services, our programs for children, youth and adults and in the maintenance of our facilities?
Just something God brought to my mind yesterday. I’d love to read your thoughts on the subject of praise and excellence.