I got a second chance!

Last week…

I published a post HERE entitled, “When to speak…and when not to.” I shared one victory and a few of my mistakes. This was one of my mistakes:

…I went to the grocery store and saw a teen in the produce section using a spray bottle to clean and wipe a tray before laying fresh peaches out for display and sale. I thought, “I am so thankful he is doing his job well.” (I can see the potential for some to just put the peaches on the unwashed tray.) I didn’t tell him! I walked by. When I circled back to look for him, he was gone. I know why it happened. My mind was traveling in several directions that morning. I was not fully present.

This week…

I encountered the same exact situation. Though a different person than last week, he was also spray-cleaning a black tray before placing grapes on it for display and sale. Unlike last week, I didn’t miss my opportunity! I grabbed some bananas nearby and thanked him for doing his job well.

“Excuse me. Thank you for taking the time to clean the tray before putting the produce on it. I imagine not everyone takes the time to do that.”

He lit up!

With bright eyes and a flashing smile, Isaac said, “We get a little short staffed sometimes. I am sorry things don’t always look as good as they should. Thank you so much for saying something! Not everyone sees what goes on behind the scenes.”

We were both smiling!

As we parted ways, I with bananas in hand and he with grapes, our mornings had just experienced a glimmer of kindness. Our time in a grocery store had just gotten better.

Do such moments with a stranger count for much?

There are arguments that what I said to the employee didn’t really matter for eternal purposes or the Kingdom of God. After all, I will probably never see him again. There was also no direct conversation about spiritual matters. Such points can be used to justify taking a time-out from “shining” for Jesus 24/7. Though we each have permission from God to take a break for many different reasons, this Saturday morning exchange counted for eternity.

Here are some reasons why.

For one, I was obeying God. Last week I was convicted in my heart for not speaking to the produce employee when I could have. This week, as an act of faith, I responded on purpose and spoke. ALL acts of faith please God and have eternal value: And without faith it is impossible to please God… (Hebrews 11:6)

Second, I could see Isaac next week and chat again. Who knows? Every relationship in our lives started with a first encounter. Maybe he will move into my neighborhood or become friends with my son. I have met some people and later breathed a sigh of relief when our paths crossed again, and I was glad I had been kind in our first encounter!

What is it like to interact with us?

Connecting to my blog post from last week HERE about the power and importance of words, the Bible describes what kind of communicators Christ followers are supposed to be, but are we?

Read these verses gathered together in a row. Read the list slowly. (I have.) Let the Spirit who lives in us convict our minds, emotions and will. Dare to ask Him to do a mighty work to make you look like these verses.

God, help us. God, help me!

  • To answer before listening— that is folly and shame. (Proverbs 18:13)
  • Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. (Proverbs 18:2)
  • The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)
  • Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. (Proverbs 10:19)
  • The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 18:21)
  • The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. (Proverbs 15:18)
  • A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
  • Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6)
  • Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
  • Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)
  • Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. (Romans 14:19)
  • …to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. (Titus 3:2)
  • Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. (2 Timothy 2:16)
  • Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.(1Thessalonians 5:11)
  • Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:2)
  • If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18)
  • Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them. (Proverbs 29:20)
  • Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity. (Proverbs 21:23)
  • It is to one’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. (Proverbs 20:3)
  • Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Col 3:13)

Picture Explanation: Healthy breakfast and an active boy.

There is an online study of One Gritty Blink starting August 10 from 9-11 a.m. Click on the Oaks Ministries link below to consider joining.

© 2022 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.

10 Responses

  1. Hi, Friend. Thank you for modeling repentance to us. Repentance involves making things right. It involves a change, a turning from the old, and restitution. Although you did not speak to the young man you wrote about last week, I am 100% confident that you will if/when you see him again. God is pleased with your offering, a pleasant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice. Of course, really, it is no sacrifice for us to be kind in such a way. I am reminded of times I go to the grocery store in a hurry with a need for something and walk by dozens of people and don’t even make eye contact. Lord, help me to purpose to bless others wherever I go–to remember that each individual I walk past needs you and would be blessed by an act of kindness and acknowledgement.

    Yes, your kindness has opened doors to ongoing kindness and ministry to this young man’s soul even if all you do is continue to be kind to him and to bless him with encouragement.

    Thank you for the list of scriptures. They are convicting and encouraging. Obedience and kindness always bring forth fruit! How much we need to remember that!

    Have a wonderful week, Friend!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement that all things matter. Our small acts, if done in faith, last forever. An amazing truth for us all to treasure.

  2. Hi Laurie,
    This brings home what I was just teaching in the kindergarten Sunday school class this morning. Missionaries serve and honor God as they show the love of Christ to others and share the gospel. We discussed how we could do that at home, at school, at work, and in our community. It just might start in the fruit department at the grocery store.

    1. Yes! It just might start in the fruit department at the grocery store! How fun! We just need to set ourselves free to love. God will grab it and use it for His glory.

  3. Laurie, thank you for smiling and being kind to strangers. I love that about you! And it matters.

    These words you included from God himself encourage and convict. I can think to myself that I’m doing well, but then the scriptures say, “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” I Cor. 10:12-14 KJV. The situation is never too much for me to respond with self control! Wow.

    1. Wow, indeed. That Scripture is sobering and motivating at the same time. We stand on equal ground with everyone at the foot of the cross, but we can also live in victory. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Thank you! I’m going to copy down that list so that it’s right in front of me and meditate on those truths. 💗

  5. I have tried to be an encourager despite lock downs, ministry, and our own set of trials–because everyone has needed some encouragement! But, Laurie, because of your post, I turned my car around the other day! A home owner on a corner which we pass every week on our way to church has taken time during Covid to do multiple home improvements: they painted their brick house, added a front patio with chairs, planted flowers, and added a little white picket fence. I’ve noticed their efforts, but never saw the actual home owner. But, the other day she was out weeding with three young kiddos. And I thought, “Well, that’s the person behind all of these improvements! They look so hot out there in the sun. . . . I should say something,” but I was already past. Then, I thought of your post, braked, and turned around. It took a minute to get their attention, they were so busy weeding, but, as I start complimenting their creativity and hard work, one by one, the mom and all three of the children came towards my car, faces flushed, but smiling and grateful. Yay!!

    1. Well, that made me smile! May be all be willing to brake our cars and turn around. I heard a quote yesterday: “What is the difference between growing older and growing old? The willingness to be inconvenienced.” May we never grow old.

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Planting and Watering

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes growth.

1 Corinthians 3:6

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