Gain On the Bottom Shelf at Kroger?

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Krogerland is mine and Rip’s home away from home. We call it Krogerland because, like Disneyland and Opryland there are groves of people who come through week after week. In any given week, there are roughly 25,000 people who come through Rip’s store, and that makes Krogerland our mission field.

Rip talks with so many people and they literally look for him to share a smile, get their hug, or tell him about their surgeries, their losses, their marital difficulties, their wayward child, their estranged grandchildren…on and on Rip shares with me some of the stories and experiences people share with him. These stories, (as these people know rather quickly into their conversation with him), touch his heart. Profoundly. He listens with his heart. It’s not normal. Day after day, he enters into what I know to be God’s calling on his life – to be used by God to touch people with His love. It’s that’s simple.

Rip has the gift of listening … and in triple portion, the gift of sympathetic compassion. Yes, he’s a squaller! Just yesterday we had a friend over for lunch and as she (very briefly and quickly) told us about a time when she cried out to God and He answered in miraculous ways, we notice Rip with his head looking down at his lunch plate, nostrils flared and eyes getting teary. He is such a macho man, with the heart of God that beats REAL in him!

So, what does any of this have to do with Gain being on the BOTTOM shelf at Kroger?

With all the heartaches, troubles, and all the joy-stories that Rip hears, (day after day), there is a constant thread that seems to run through them all. And it’s this.

They each deal with the need for real spiritual gain. Not material gain.

Never once do we hear their desperate needs and sense an even greater desperation for MATERIAL GAIN. People don’t voice their hurts and trials and then say, “Oh, if I could just experience material gain in my life that would solve it all.”  It doesn’t solve it all. Even when the lack of money IS the problem, deep down they are really searching for something Greater. Something Lasting. Hope.

That’s the purpose of the Gain being on the bottom shelf….to offer a visual to what Psalm 119:36 is leading us to pray.

“Turn my heart to Your decrees {Your Word} and not to material gain,” Psalm 119:36

We should pray for spiritual enrichment, rather than material enrichment.

But I believe the ESV of this verse really brings this point home:

“Incline my heart to your testimonies {spiritual enrichment}, and not to selfish gain!”

It’s a true “God-thing”, an act of His grace, that takes the love or pursuit of money/self from a person, and replaces it with a love for the Bible and its Author.

Rip has told me that the items on the bottom shelf are those items that the vendor did not “pay” to have their product at either eye level or on the top shelf. Each vendor pays to have their product marketed on certain shelving. The eye-level shelf is top dollar and then the top shelf is 2nd. But the bottom shelving is the least expensive for the vendor to purchase.

In context of today’s verse, material GAIN belongs on the bottom shelf of our life….it’s not to be the “top dollar” priority of our life. To work and acquire money, to manage money, to be a wise steward of money is a godly attribute of a Christian. But Psalm 119:36 is not speaking of money. It’s speaking of the love of money and the love of self being what we long for and pursue more than God’s testimonies and decrees (His Word).

GODLINESS is of greatest gain! We see this in 1 Timothy 6:6 – “Godliness with contentment is great GAIN.” 

Now, that’s a GAIN that belongs at eye level!!


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lisa rippy

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