Saturday, September 15, 2012

Living Like an ATM

The last couple days, I have shared about my recent trip to the Philippines. In the post entitled "The Best-Laid Plans ..." I discovered that God may very well have His own reasons for setting aside my plans to accomplish something unexpected. In yesterday's post, two little birds stuck inside the airport terminal remind us of what we need when we take a wrong turn in life.  Today, I'd like to share one final, weird little happening from that trip.

Needed: One Functioning ATM
It was Saturday morning. Time to go home. My hosts asked me if I had enough Philippine pesos to pay the terminal tax when I left. As a matter of fact, I didn't. I had absolutely no pesos at all. That would be no problem, though, as long as there was an ATM machine at the airport. They assured me there was.

They dropped me off at the departure terminal. I checked in my luggage and looked for the ATM. I found it just outside the entrance to the terminal. Card in. PIN entered. Enter amount to be withdrawn. Wait ... then this message

"This machine temporarily cannot dispense cash."

What!?! OK, OK. So this machine is apparently empty. Is there another? I asked.

Yes, by the arrival hall.  Clark Airport is not all that big, so it is not too far to walk to the arrival terminal. Wonderful. There are actually two ATM's there. I approach the first one and immediately see a message something like this. 

"This ATM temporarily cannot process transactions."

Good grief! Well, there is still one more to try.

Card in. PIN entered. Enter amount to be withdrawn. Wait ...

"This machine temporarily cannot dispense cash."

You've GOT to be kidding! Three machines at the same airport within a two minute walk of each other and NONE of them can do what they were made to do?

I asked one of the men waiting nearby where the closest ATM was. I'd have to go out of the airport a couple miles down the road. Just take a taxi ...

There was just one problem. NO PESOS!  Of course, I would have pesos AFTER finding a working
ATM, but that didn't occur to me just then. Still, my frustration was enough to gain the sympathy of one of the bystanders who gave me a lift to a working machine and back to the airport.  Of course, I paid him something for his trouble.  

After paying the terminal fee, I passed through immigration and on to the departure gate ... where I saw the two lost birds from yesterday's post. Things were back on track, and the rest of the trip went smoothly.

My Life as an ATM
As I reflected on this experience, I got to thinking that in a way, as believers in Jesus, we should be like ATM machines. Does that sound weird? Bear with me a moment.

Jesus is like the main bank. In Him is the currency of the Kingdom of Heaven. In Him is life, and light, and hope, and forgiveness, and love, and peace. 

We are not the source of that currency. Jesus is. He has placed us in our neighborhoods, our schools, our workplaces to "dispense" this Kingdom currency to those around us who desperately need it.

The question is, when someone comes to you or me seeking the life and light and freedom that only Jesus can give, will our ATM machines be in working order? Are we well-stocked in this Kingdom currency, and able to share it with those who need it? Or are we "temporarily unable to complete the transaction" or "temporarily unable to dispense cash". 

I don't know about you, but I want to stay in working order so I can always be ready to give the reason for the hope I have. (1 Peter 3:15)  I don't want to be like an empty ATM machine that is no good to anyone who comes seeking the riches of God's Kingdom. 

If, at some point, I do find myself "out of order' or empty, there is a simple solution. Go back to the Bank. Jesus can repair me, restore me, and fill me up again.

What about you? Is your ATM full today? In good working order?  If not, what can you do to get back in working order again?


  1. OK, I REALLY like this know I read each one you write but this one made me come to your site just to say how much "I REALLY LIKED THIS ONE"

  2. Thanks so much for coming to the site. Comments are always appreciated ... especially encouraging ones like these. :)


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