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.
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.
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