Buddy, the hound, howled louder than the voice on the answering machine. Still, I have had a lot of practice distinguishing messages from Buddy’s wails, so I did manage to catch the gist of the message the caller was leaving.
“This is Joe Smith, (not his real name), co-manager, of the (local) Wal-mart. We have received your letter of complaint about our broken bag policy. I don’t understand your letter, but if you will return my call…..”
I finally reached the phone. ”Hello. Did I hear you correctly? Are you sure you have the right number? I haven’t sent a letter of complaint in a long time and I would send an email anyway. I don’t know anything about “broken bags.”
He rattled off my name and address and I began to worry. “I don’t suppose someone using my name and address would be a police matter?” I asked hopefully.
He insisted a copy of a letter of complaint was sent to the local store from Wal-mart headquarters. Before hanging up, I asked if he would please check into the letter and let me know what he learned. “I will. But I still don’t understand why anyone would write a letter about broken bags of dog food.”
Dog food? Including those two little words made a world of difference.
“Wait, a minute. I did send a letter about broken bags of dog food about a month ago, but it wasn’t a complaint. I read in a newsletter that Wal-mart has discontinued donating broken bags of food because some organizations were breaking their agreement to not sell the food. Now all the shelters that depend on donations are being penalized. Readers were asked to write to the Wal-mart CEO and request that the policy be reinstated. That is all explained in the letter. What are you doing with it?” (All Creatures Are Truly Special, Inc. August 2006 newsletter.)
“Oh, that practice was discontinued years ago. We can’t give away pet food. If the food is bad and an animal gets sick, we could be held liable.”
I emailed my contact at All Creatures Are Truly Special, Inc. and repeated what the co-manager told me. She assured me that for many years Wal-mart donated broken bags of pet food to All C.A.T.S. and other groups weekly. The practice was recently discontinued and her local Wal-mart manager suggested she get supporters to write to the company’s CEO.
I would not want to make a literal comparison of Wal-mart to God’s church! But I do see an analogy here
Wal-mart has many stores in the United States but they are all under one CEO, one policymaking board, one umbrella of rules and regulations. It has a national policy on everything from bulletin boards to purchasing supplies. .
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4: 4-6
If there is only one God and one faith, why all the confusion in Christianity today? There are more ideas of God, definitions of faith, and versions of what the Bible teaches than there are Wal-mart stores. Some of these teachings might arise from misunderstandings, but many are deliberate inventions of human greed for money, power and fame.
Perversions of the gospel are not new. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:6-8:
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
The co-manager and I had a laugh, although it was a bit embarrassing at first, to admit I did write the letter to Wal-mart after repeatedly denying it, but I did respond correctly, according to the facts as they were given to me – a “complaint” about broken bags. The manager did not deliberately mislead me, but there are those who deliberately omit or change words and imports in order to preach a different gospel than Paul did.
There is one true Christ Jesus, the Son of God. Is he preached in your church, or is another “Jesus” taught?
There is one true gospel. Have you heard it preached? Don’t turn away from it to something that seems more fun or appealing to the emotions, or to the bank account.
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. Matthew 24:11, 13