Tuesday, September 20, 2016

In Memory of Consumers Distributing

Some of you may remember Consumers Distributing. It was a store that operated from 1957 to 1996 in which customers selected items from a store catalog instead of from store shelves, and employees would then go to a warehouse behind their counter to get any catalog items requested. I loved Consumers Distributing, and was sad when they closed. I used to eagerly page through the Consumers catalog, wishing I could afford so many of the things that I saw. I can fondly remember random items that I bought there: a baseball glove, a wall clock, a microwave cabinet, a floor lamp. And so many other things. I think I enjoyed shopping there because it was so easy to browse their entire stock as you just stood in one place and paged through their colourful catalog, knowing that whatever you found could immediately be brought out and presented to you like a gift (that you then had to pay for)! It was like Amazon before the internet and without the shipping fees! And just as Amazon aims to provide us with all that we want all on one website, Consumers Distributing tried to provide whatever any consumer might want all in one catalog.

All of these memories occurred to me this morning as I read Proverbs 23:23. "Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding." 

These are all invaluable items! Much more precious than baseball gloves and floor lamps. And it occurred to me that they're all readily available in the pages of one beautiful book that contains the words of God: the Bible! I can eagerly read my Bible knowing that every page is filled with truth and wisdom, instruction and understanding, and all of it is affordable because it's free! Isaiah wrote, "...he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price" (Isaiah 55:1). The food Isaiah spoke of was spiritual food. He went on to mention an "everlasting covenant" with God (55:3) in which we know that wine is symbolic of the shed blood of Jesus and milk represents the rich nourishment of God's Word. And it's all explained and made available in a book that has no product pictures, and yet is full of pictures for those who have eyes to see!

So as eager as I was to browse the Consumers Distributing catalog (and as eager as I may sometimes be to browse Amazon), I have so much more reason to be excited about reading God's Word. In the pages of my Bible are truth, wisdom, instruction and understanding; they are always in stock and always free. And the Holy Spirit is continually available as our teacher in these things (John 14:26), though He doesn't wait behind a counter to receive our requests as we find things  He comes right into our hearts to enlighten and encourage us as we read. So read eagerly, looking for all that is available and always free!

© 2016 by Ken Peters

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