For Sale: Vending Machine Jesus

by Brad Harmon on July 1, 2010 in Miscellany

Anyone Have a Dollar?

I came across this video today while doing some research for a post.  It’s a pretty accurate description of how we treat our prayer life most of the time, isn’t it? I hope this image pops into my head the next time I start rattling of my prayer list trying to rush through it so I can get to my busy day. Or, when I am tempted to complain about tithing or offering only to hear no response back.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Red Letter Believers July 1, 2010 at 11:23 pm

that i s too good. we too often thing we can just approach God — who owns everything — with a list for anything. it doesnt work that way. We get frustrated, disappointed and lose our faith.____But most of my blessing have been simple becuase I didnt get what I wanted….__Shows you what i know!


Brad Harmon July 2, 2010 at 1:35 am

Isn't that the truth! I like how it shows both our tendency to give a small amount expecting a big return, how we think God is just waiting around for us to push his button, and how frustrating it is when we can't get what we want because we won't come prepared with the sacrifice. It's a great analogy.


Alex July 7, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Hey Brad,
Just continueing the conversation from my blog and although I am not a Christian in any way (more agnostic I think) I was drawn in by the title and had a good giggle.
I think the video makes a good point and I think it's a valid one, but I have to offer my 2 cents are refute.
The ONLY thing that I envy about Christians is that when all is up s*** creek and there is nowhere else to go, there is God. So with that in mind I can only assume that when people pray it is because they generally want something, whether that be material or spitirual, it is always something that they want. Further to this is that even if people did only pray to Him when they wanted something, then simply by the act of asking for a solution consiously will make the solution appear, (Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change)
That's just what I think, but then I think that Christianity is a metaphor for the sign of pisces and was created solely to pass the ancient knowledge down about the precession of the equinox – so what do I know 🙂
Thanks for sharing that vid mate.
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Brad Harmon July 8, 2010 at 2:04 am

I appreciate your candor. My faith in God is a great comfort (sure, even crutch as many would say) that when it all hits the fan He is still in control and there for me. That same faith guides me when everything is going great as well.

Unfortunately, your observations about people only going to God when they want something ring very true. Poll after poll show that people who claim they are Christians are living lives that are not affected by their beliefs. It is only when they face adversity that they fall to their knees.

I have no doubt that God uses adversities to bring people to Him, but too often when the adversity passes the only relationship most Christians have with Him is to treat Him as a vending machine. It is a wonder to me that the truth of God ever reaches people with the example we Christians provide with our lives.


@quarkspeed July 7, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Hmm… this sort of meme "don't ask what God can do for you – ask what you can do for God" is very common in Christian circles… yet if you read the psalms, David's always asking God for many things – material, emotional and spiritual. Heck, he even asks for the destruction of his enemies.

And still, God calls him a man after his own heart.

So… what's the difference? He always reaches out to God for advice, thanks God and firmly believes that God is the overcomer… it's not asking for things that's the problem – it's knowing that God is ALWAYS in control.

In summary, it's a reciprocal relationship… it's just our expectations that need to be adjusted sometimes :-).



Brad Harmon July 8, 2010 at 2:13 am

I must admit that I need a booster shot to inoculate me against that meme at times. It's one that runs rampant in this fiercely independent culture of ours.

I love that we know so much about David from the Bible. He's 100% authentic … at times he is downright horrible, but he always came back to God. He asked God for many things, but he also sang His praises, argued with Him, and held nothing back from Him.

It was a real relationship. David never forgot the majesty of God. He didn't try to confine him in a box (like a vending machine) to be used only when he needed Him.

Great example. Thanks for pointing it out.


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