Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Thank you for using the fast lane

I’m not talking about motorway driving.  In any event the third lane is just that, and not the fast lane!  No I am talking about the supposed fast lane in Supermarkets where as customers we now have the privilege of scanning our purchases ourselves rather than someone at a till doing this for us.  This is what is often called the “fast lane” and indeed in at least one major supermarket as you finish your packing and pick up your bag there is even a recorded message that says “Thank you for using the fast lane”.  Fast lane indeed!  This is one of the best supermarket cons around.  It is very rarely a faster experience than someone at a till scanning your purchases because of the number of times that a supervisor has to be called to bypass the machine which has invariably told you that you have an unauthorised something in the bagging area, or the bar code will not read, or because you had to pack your bag and you moved an item it thinks you have taken it away or……..   What this really does is save the supermarket staff costs rather than creating a faster more efficient experience for the customer.  Why O Why then do I persist in trying the self-scan machines?  The other day an assistant had to save me twice (about 25% of my items) and the day before that is was four times for several items in a basket.  In the words of Victor Meldrew “I don’t believe it!

What is it that drives me to keep trying these “fast lanes” when I know much of the time it will not go well?  I wonder whether it is something to do with us liking to take short cuts?  Now short cuts can be very useful, but they are not always possible.   I believe for instance there are no short cuts for growing our faith and being a disciple of Jesus.  It is easy to think we can skimp or easy to think we can get an occasional spiritual top up from a big event or Christian convention and not worry about the day to day discipline of being a follower of Jesus.

The basics here are often the key to ensuring that we stay close to God.  Those basics are the obvious stuff, like reading our Bible regularly, studying it with other Christians, praying on a regular basis on our own and with others, worshipping with other Christians on a regular basis and making sure our life is worship as we go through the week, allowing God to developing his gifts and fruit in our lives.  It may well be that some of life’s events enable us to have the occasional growth spurt, but there is no short cut to becoming more like Jesus.  The likeness of Christ is hammered out in us on the anvil of everyday discipleship as we move through life.