I hesitate to be overly critical of the spiritual insights or encounters that others have. I realize that God has spoken through a burning bush and a donkey, so who am I to limit His options? Yet when I read about the engaged couple in Anderson, South Carolina who found an image of Jesus on their Walmart receipt, well, pardon me for having an ounce or two of skepticism.
It’s not that Jesus can’t be found at Walmart. He’s there in every believer who works there, shops there, or just goes there to hang out on a Friday night. It’s just that I’m not sure what Jesus’ supposed image on a Walmart receipt communicates. Was He trying to say He’s blessing their marriage? Was He telling them they got a great deal? Or perhaps that they spent too much? Was He trying to say something about materialism in South Carolina? Or was Jesus giving them a way to pay for their wedding by selling the receipt on eBay? Who knows?
So here we are with an image that could have some resemblance to Jesus, Santa, or Charles Manson for that matter. We see something we want to see and make it mean what we want it to mean. And that’s just the point! Jesus spoke so clearly about who He was and why He came. He said things like, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). And “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies…” (John 11:25). That is crystal clear. He doesn’t leave us guessing.
If the Walmart receipt can be used to draw that soon-to-be-married couple into a deeper relationship with Jesus, then I’m glad for it. But instead of looking at Walmart receipts, pieces of toast, or sweat stains on baseball caps, perhaps we would do better to open God’s Word and ask Jesus to speak to us clearly.