Koi Gardens (without koi or gardens)

I found a confusing shopping center the other day on a trip out of town.  The name of the shopping center began with”Koi Gardens”.  Glancing at the shops, I could see a dentist office, real estate office, party warehouse store, nail salon, and the like.  What I didn’t see was anything that screamed out “Koi Gardens”–only a few whispers, like the nail salon, as salons can paint flowers on nails.

When I think of going to my dentist, expensive little orange fish don’t usually come to mind.  And I don’t associate party warehouse stores with pineapple trees and potted plants.

I wondered if the shopping center could have been named after the street it was on, but found out the street name is just an ordinary one.  So where did the name “Koi Gardens” come from?

Did the shopping center used to have shops themed with the koi garden idea, but they went out of business?

Did the shopping center plan on having koi garden themed shops, but it didn’t work out?

Or was it already a decided-on name by whoever owned the building, and all shops who rented there would have to assume the name?

Shopping centers like this surround us everyday.  Usually, I don’t even think about the inconsistency.  And really, it doesn’t matter at all for shopping centers.  They could call themselves anything they want–it is the stores offered that almost always bring someone to stop by or not stop by.  And if the name does draw people in, and the name is a misfit for the stores . . other than unhappy visitors, not much will probably be accomplished.

This has made me think about my own life.  What name do I give for myself?

I call myself, “Christian”, “follower of Christ”, “committed to God”.

But is that just the name I put on display so that people will want to stop by?

What are my “shops” really like–the compartments of my life?  What do people really find out about me when they meet me at work, get to know me as a friend, see me in my home, follow me around for a day?

I don’t want to advertise myself as a Christian without having Christ anywhere other than on the signpost.  Real faith is faith that loves, moves, and cares.  I might be able to fool other people–and maybe even myself–with a grand sign for a while . . but I can never fool God.  He knows my heart and what my business is really about.

  • Did my life used to have Christ in the center, but I gave that up over time?
  • Did I plan on my life following Christ, but it “didn’t work out”?
  • Was my Christianity already “decided-on” by my family or circle of friends or my wanting to agree with people I love?
  • Have I felt forced or manipulated by someone to “choose” Christianity, or is it really my choice?

I would have been in a real mess if I’d tried to answer these questions a few years ago . . but now, I know what I want in my heart, at the center of my life, and in every breath and every second of my day: Jesus Christ.  This is a choice I have made for myself, of my own free will, and I would stake my life, my time, my gifts, all that I have, all that I hold most close, and my eternity & foreverness on it.  I want every “accessory” in every “shop” of who I am to call out to and fall down & worship the Name of Christ.

Jesus deserves so much more than a sign.  Christianity is not about advertisement; it’s about the real.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”

“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it! “(Jesus, quoted in Matthew 13:45-46, NLT)

Published in: on July 7, 2012 at 11:07 am  Leave a Comment  

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