Thursday, June 1, 2017

A City on a Hill

While in Stonebriar Mall yesterday, I stopped by one of my favorite boutiques, Altar'd State. Favorite -- not because I've ever bought more than two or three items there, but because of the "feel good" experience I get when I shop there. I see this store being a "city on a hill". Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden."
It's mostly a trendy clothing-line store for teenage to middle age women, but this over-middle-age-woman bought an adorable jean jacket yesterday to wear over my "trendy" tops. Everywhere in the store you'll see signs that reflect a positive outlook on life, like...."Be who God meant you to be and you'll set the world on fire", "Pray big", "Perhaps this is the moment for which you were created", "Blessed Life", etc.

I came home and delved into their website and I read their Mission Statement (photo here) and their history. It's one of those entrepreneurial, hard-working and living-the-dream story. BTW, the name "Altar'D State" is a reference to both the altar of God and the altered life of a Christian, and according to the CEO Aaron Walters, "because when you live a Christian life, it is a different life." They have 70 boutiques throughout the U.S.

No sooner had I left Altar'd State, that I walked across the mall and there was a new store I hadn't seen before, 3:16.
Catchy numbers with a message that we see on athletes' faces, so I knew I had to check it out. Does it really mean John 3:16? And, to my absolute delight, actually it does, because the entire store is about spreading the Good News that John 3:16 speaks of: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life." There are signs, jewelry, home decor' and a clothing line that spreads the Good News. Bold evangelizing. Impressive.

Then I thought about Christian Brothers Automotive that I drive by everyday. I wondered if the brothers last name was Christian or if they're defining who they are as followers of Christ! I found out that Mark Carr was discontented with his line of work, so he prayed and asked God to provide him a business. The very next day, while Mark was attending a Sunday School class at his church, a friend from the class told him he was an automotive technician, and asked Mark to help him start an automotive repair shop, and they did. The two men were encouraged by their Sunday school class to call it Christian Brothers Automotive, as they were two brothers in Christ. Today they have 150 franchises in 19 states. Ethical, professional and tremendous customer service are their standards, which speaks volumes about living our Christianity out loud with honor.

Why did I share these businesses with you today? Yes, these businesses are definitely being that "light in the world -- the city on the hill that cannot be hidden" like Jesus spoke of and we pray they be continually blessed for their being so representative of "spreading the good news". But, how about you and I? Maybe we don't have a storefront or a "God Loves You" bumper sticker on our car and we don't wear a "Blessed Life" t-shirt (maybe we should), or we don't have signs all over our home that scream "I am a Christian" (maybe we should), but what about the billboard that we show everyday? That smiling face, that generous heart that gives, or the spokesperson that encourages and lifts up those around them. I'm telling you "spreading the good news" in a world that sure could use good news should be what we're all about. St. Francis put it best: "Preach the Gospel at ALL times, and sometimes, use words."