Archives For True Stories
So, when does blending in with your surroundings become dangerous? For the follower of Christ, blending in means that you do your best not to be noticed. Furthermore, blending in is a pursuit to adapt the values of the culture so as not to be labeled weird or different. It is dangerous when the church winks at sin and abuses the very grace given by God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Paul writes to the church at Ephesus about the need to be different…the pursuit of new behavior in their daily lives. Ephesians 4 reveals his powerful words. Instead of lying, tell the truth (4:25). Be angry at the right things, but never let it continue until the next day (4:26). Don’t take something which is not yours, but work hard to earn the money to pay for it (4:28). Use your words to build people up instead of using them to destroy (4:29). Learn to obey God’s truth so you do not disappoint Him (4:30). “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour [fighting], and evil speaking, be put away from you” (4:31). “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (4:32). Being a follower of Christ costs us something…our identity. We no longer attempt to blend in with the value system of the world, but our attitudes and actions cause us to be identified with Jesus. “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).
First, I could not stand customers who had unreasonable demands about packing their groceries (i.e. double paper bagged, plastic bag inside of paper). I understand not putting the milk in the same bag as the bread and making sure the eggs were put on the top of the other groceries, but come on…bringing your own environmentally friendly bag and expecting me to cram $100 worth of groceries into a single shoulder bag? I don’t think so!
The second thing I hated was gathering carts from the parking lot, especially on rainy days. Thankfully, technology has advanced and now I see these guys with motor-controlled contraptions which push the carts for you. I hate those guys! I came from an era where I would connect as many carts as possible and hope one did not slide off the end and crash into the side of a car. It happens.
The last thing I hated were customers who were too lazy to return their cart to the designated area. You know who you are. Every shopper has three options after placing their groceries in their trunk. First option – leave the cart in front of your car (extreme laziness). Second option – leave the cart far enough away from your car where it does not look like you did it (lazy and sneaky). Final option – put the cart in its proper place (outstanding American citizen). After having been a bag boy for so many years, I always chose the latter option. I know what a pain it is to gather scattered carts from a mammoth parking lot. I feel the pain of the scrawny, acne-faced kid who is losing a game of hide-and-seek with hundreds of carts…not to mention that he looks like a nerd in black shorts, a white button-up shirt, and an awful tie! I know many of you reading this cannot relate to my bitter feelings, but I believe I speak for all the bag boys of the world – put the cart back where it belongs for goodness sake!
In case you are waiting for the spiritual application, here it comes. Sometimes when we have been following Christ for a long period of time, we tend to forget about the hardships, learning process, and mistakes of a person who is just starting out on the Christian journey. Okay, maybe you cannot relate with working in a grocery store but I’m sure you know what it feels like to be new or reliant on the help of others. As a mature follower of Christ, you have an incredible responsibility to help those who are weak in the faith come to full maturity. Sure, they can “gather the carts on their own“, but it will take a lot more time and effort to accomplish the goal. The Christian life is too risky to be lived alone and we need others to come alongside in order to help keep us on the right path. Instead of being lazy and caring only about your personal schedule, be willing to invest your time to help others who need a hand. Are you putting the cart back?
My intention is not to make you think of death, but to think of life. You have been given one shot at it – don’t waste it.