Have you ever gone into a store hoping to get in and get out without seeing anyone you know? That was me a few nights ago. If any of you know me, that would seem out of character. However, it had been an exhausting day of five-hour car rides, unfriendly airline attendants, early mornings and no coffee. So, like anyone would do in that circumstance I went to the store at 9:15pm, hoping everyone would be home. I made it all the way to the checkout counter without seeing anyone. Then it happened. I was greeted with, "Hey girl!" Not recognizing who she was, I politely responded back with, "Hey!" Hoping that would be the extent of the conversation. She proceeded with, "You probably don't remember me but you were my first customer when I started working here." Initiate brain game of "Guess Who", where my thoughts began lending themselves to such things as: how long has she worked here? How many times have I been here recently? It had to have been recently if she still remembers me? Maybe she remembers me because I was rude? Why is she telling me this?
In mid thought, before any of these questions could be answered she said, "I remember you because you were very patient with me. A lot of the people who come through here choose me primarily because my line is shorter. But you were different. You commented on my hair and continually told me not to worry about the time it was taking." Whew! What a relief! --But was it? How many times are we someone's first customer? Maybe we are their first day back to work after a hard breakup or the loss of a loved one? Maybe they are trying something out of their comfort zone and need that person to be patient?
Think of the story in The Bible of the woman caught in adultery, found in John 8:1-12. Jesus, sees the circumstance, but He also knows and sees their hearts. Instead of having her stoned, He instead states, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And you know the end. No one throws a stone.
We all have hard days. We all have sinned. I wouldn't be able to throw a stone either. Sometimes when it's the hardest to be that helping hand or smile, those are the times we need to dig deep and ask ourselves how we would want to be treated.
We were created to make a difference.
Trust me, there are times I miss the opportunity or I'm in a rush, but we have to make time for others. We can start by asking the question, "Whose needs can I meet?" instead of "Who can meet my needs?"
Here are a few verses I use and pray about to help me serve others better:
"For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -Ephesians 2:10 NIV
"So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing." -1 Thessalonians 5:11
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." -Ephesians 4:29
And if you're looking for a worship song to fill you up so you can pour out to others, this is one of my favorites! (I even recently played it at the unity section of my wedding) Closer by Lifepoint Worship
Lots of Love,