The health food store is right next to a liquor store on one side and an adult book store on the other. Both of those stores have large sliding doors that invite everyone in. In the middle of these stores is an inviting store called “The Way”. It proclaims health and wholeness in the windows. The door is easily entered, although certainly not as humongous as the ones next door.
Curious strangers gaze in at the people. The health food store regulars are of varying sizes and shapes. As the onlookers come back week by week they actually see that the health food store has an affect on the people inside. They begin to become like the picture of health that is found above the counter.
Nothing holds anyone back from entering – well, perhaps the bright lights and glare from next door, and the people who keep telling you that you really shouldn’t get mixed up with that group – “they’re fanatics”. For some it’s the realization that, once they walk through the door, this is a new life that they will enter into.
One day you venture in. The inhabitants of the store point to the food all that surrounds you. This is a gift, they say. There is no price for the food. A long time ago, an investment group bought the neverending food supply.
The brand name is “Charis”. Not a usual name, but it sticks in your mind. “Charis”. The caretakers of the food point out that care has been taken to only stock food that is good for you. Some food may not taste great on first swallow. Some tastes delicious. Some people like certain foods and others cross the aisle and pick out something else.
The Charis people learn after a while that, to get the full benefit and nutrition, they have to try all the food. Each food supplements the other. Since it’s free, why not!
“What are we trying to do in this store?” the main proprietor asks. “Next door they proclaim sights that will blind you and drinks that will numb you. We would rather talk about shalom. All this food works together for your good, for a well rounded life. We find people who come in through the door look at the shelves, and can’t believe it. For a while they get stuck over there – but hopefully they move on to the other shelves. Their whole selves begin to take on a new, healthy form.”
Then you remember hearing about this store from people who were out on the street with you. The health food store patrons breathed a whole different life. They had that Charis and shalom about them.
The owners have an actual vision and blueprint for the future. In the end, the final phase of construction for the store is expansive. This current store finally takes over the whole block, in fact the whole city. Call it heaven, if you will. When that store finally happens, the expectation is that people will have that perfect set of bodies that are fit and each step they take is full of enthusiasm.
That’s where people want to be!