Wednesday, May 5, 2010

God Met Me at Walmart...

Why is it that we greet each other with "Hi, how are you?" wherever we go? We do it at church, school, work, and whenever we bump into someone. Walmart greeters, church greeters, and cashiers ask us all the time how we are doing. And we usually respond "fine". Do they really want to know how we are, or is it a commonplace formality to ask? And if we answer them with the truth would they listen? Would they care? Would they wish they had never asked? And if you are like me then after you have answered with the usual "fine" you counter question with "How are you?", expecting to hear "fine" back! I find myself suddenly challenged with the question of whether or not I really want to know how people are doing when I ask them! Sure, I genuinely care when I am asking a friend or a family member, but what about the person in front of me at church during coffee hour? The cashier at the grocery store? The customer representative on the other end of the phone?

I saw God this week in Walmart of all places! He met me in the check out line when I in robotic response to the cashier asking me how I was, in turn asked her how she was! BUT she did not respond with fine, and I ashamedly admit that I was taken off guard and disappointed that she was honest in her answer.

If you are reading this blog you know me well enough to know that I absolutely HATE grocery shopping and so I am a strategic shopper. I organize my list by aisle and get in and out quickly. I am prone to hide if I see someone I know because I hate being held up in the grocery store. I have mastered weaving in and out of grocery aisles with my cart and 2 kids at a power walkers speed, all in the hopes of getting in and out quickly. So heaven forbid I end up in a checkout lane with a particularly chatty cashier, especially if the kids have been fighting in the store A LOT before check out!!!!!

Let me tell you, she was chatty! She was taking her time and talking a lot with the lady in front of me, as my kids fought with each other and bug me to buy candy! Then she turned the blinking light on because she needed a manager. If you know me, by now you can imagine I am peaking my head around the corner looking for another check out to run to! (didn't find one) Then it was my turn and when I ask her how she is doing, she starts by talking about how tired she is, and how slow the day is going, and that she is there until 6pm and right now it's 12pm! And I stand there annoyed because I have 2 fighting kids and I don't care how she is doing I want out of there. Why did she have to be honest? Here's why: God needed to show up at the grocery store to show me that I need to care even in my hurried life and hatred of grocery shopping, I need to see the cashier as a human being instead of an obstacle on the way to the parking lot!

Here's the challenge for myself and for you... When you and I ask someone how they are doing we need to mean it, to actually want to know how they are otherwise we should not ask because asking without caring is being fake. And when someone asks us how we are doing we need to be like the Walmart cashier and be honest, let the person really know how you are. Maybe it will challenge them as it did me, and shake them out of their self centered complacency!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Erica,

    I can so relate to this story, Erica! If I can find a self-check out, I'll take it every time.

    I believe that Satan only has two weapons against the child of God...doubt and distraction. In Mark 4, Jesus talks about the Sower of the Word and it says,' As soon as the Word is sown, Satan shows up to steal it." If Satan is committed and faithful about anything, it is this; we should expect it everytime.

    My husband has grown wonderfully in the Spirit, and recently he got a Word, "Don't miss an opportunity!" This reminds me of last August when I got a similar word from the Spirit.

    My son, Joey, went to Creation with the youth group of your church, Erica, and he had met a boy named Justin; they became close brothers instantly.

    Now, in August, his mother called and asked if Joey could come and visit them for a few days. Now, Joey had been slothful and disobedient about a few things during the summer, and my husband decided that 'now' he wanted to punish him. In fact, he had a bit of a temper tantrum, ranting and raving about Joey going to the Pocono's, which is something he does rarely. I wanted to honor my husband, but something in my spirit just didn't feel right about it. I prayed, and I got.."Don't miss an opportunity." So, I spoke to my husband about it, and thank God, he knows when to honor a word from God.He calmed down. We agreed that he needed to be disciplined, but it could wait until after the Pocono's.

    Well, upon arrival to a Burger King near Allentown, I met Nadine, a sister after my own heart! Instantly, God bonded us together in so many ways. Just the Blessing I needed at the right time and right place in my heart. She has been a blessing to me ever since and will continue to be for all Eternity.

    I drove home that day with tears of joy in my eyes. When God said, 'Don't miss an opportunity', being a servant of the Lord, I thought it was time to serve again, and I want to be obedient to impact others for Jesus. However, with the recent death of my close friend, I was truly running on empty, heartbroken, and floundering in my faith. He knew that, and in this instance, He meant,'Don't miss an opportunity for Me to bless you, child! To refill your cup to over-flowing!'

    But, what if I had been distracted from His voice by my husband's tantrum? Or in the grocery store, our childrens' tantrums? What a lifetime opportunity I may have missed...don't miss an opportunity to share the Gospel in action or word, and definitely don't miss an opportunity for God to bless you! Peter says that they are one and the same..'In blessing, we are the receivers of the Blessing.' Amen!

    Love,
    Carolyn

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