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Is Your God an ATM Machine?

When do you go to an ATM Machine?  I suppose we go to an ATM only when we need money. Otherwise, even if we walk by the ATM, we may ignore it because it does not matter to us. It is because we are guided by a culture of use and dispose. We use whatever we need and then dispose of them. When we don’t need something, then we don’t care about them anymore. It is an attitude that reflects in every action that we perform in our day to day life.

We also live in a fast-food culture, where we order food at one window, pay at another one, and get the food at a third window. It all happens in a rolling distance and within a few minutes. We become consciously or unconsciously part of such a culture today. This culture is impacting all the areas of our human lives and producing lots of adverse effects in our relationships with ourselves, others, and even with God. This fast-food and use and dispose of culture is creating lots of tension and unrest in the family environment irrespective of color, creed, and culture all over the world. It is leading to division, discord, disagreement, dissension, dispute, and even divorce in traditional environments.

” …Our approach has to be very personal like that of the relation between a Father and his Children.  If so, we don’t have to go to Him, but He will know our needs and requirements, and He will place on our path what we need. 

When do we go to visit God?  In good times or bad? Most of us are likely to visit God more often during bad times rather than good. Why is it?  It is because the same culture again guides us even in our relationship with God.  Is our God someone we can approach when we need something similar to an ATM? Can God be our ATM Machine? He can never be! But we treat Him as though He is our ATM Machine. We go to Him when we need whatever we need and whenever we need it. When we don’t need anything more, we leave Him quietly free. This approach is not fair and just. He certainly, deserves much more than what we give Him because He is our God, creator, provider, and protector. 

We become impatient with Him at times, especially when our prayers are not answered in our own time, our own manner, and our own way. We become upset and mad at God sometimes for our own mistakes and unreflective decisions, as though He is responsible for our actions, especially the bad ones.  

We go to God through the wings of faith and paths of relationship. What matters in our relationship with God is the personal approach rather than the impersonal approach. We don’t usually thank an ATM for providing us the money, but we always thank people after receiving money. Here, the former is impersonal, and the latter is personal.

God of Christianity is a personal God, not an impersonal God. He is a personal God who cares, loves, forgives, fosters, and even dies Himself for others so that they can have life eternal and life in its fullness.  Our God is not a wholesale dealer nor a retail merchant. He is a God of love, relations, compassion, mercy, charity, and understanding. He is living and loving, and he is always with us, around us, and within us. He is the beginning and end of our lives.  

Therefore, our approach has to be very personal like that of the relation between a Father and his Children.  If so, we don’t have to go to Him, but He will know our needs and requirements, and He will place on our path what we need. To make this happen, we have to change our attitude, especially the use and dispose of attitude and approach our God as our Dad, not as a machine. The relationships are functional in a healthy family dynamic, and it is personal, bonding, binding, enduring, honest, truthful, durable, and lasting. These characteristics bring wholeness and fulness to the relationship in families.  God is our Father, and we are all his children, brothers, and sisters to each other irrespective of who we are and where we come from. Let us treat everyone with dignity, honor, respect, love, compassion, and charity. No one is to be used, no matter rich or poor, but everyone is to be cared for and loved, as God does not use us but only cares for us!


Fr Tomy Puliyan, MSFS

“Holiness and Happiness through Wellness and Wholeness”




3 thoughts on “Is Your God an ATM Machine?”

  1. Subir Kumar Singh

    Thank you very much Dear Fr Tomy for your good thoughts and for having enlightened us to love God very personally. God bless you always dear fr!

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