Thursday, December 17, 2009

Conviction from a Stranger

Today on my way home from work I stopped at Wal-Mart to buy just a couple things. I quickly grabbed what I needed and then proceeded to join a really long line of disgruntled customers at the "20 items or less" register. Everyone was in a bad mood. It was 5pm, the store was packed, the lines were long- you get the picture. I admit that I joined the disgruntled mood of everyone else in line at Wal-Mart.

I didn't say anything out loud, but in my head I was thinking, "Why does Wal-Mart have to be so packed? Who are all these people? Where are all the checkers? I hate shopping in Christmas crowds!" Bad, right?

The elderly couple in front of me was particularly upset. But amidst his loud grumbling, the man was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder from the woman who was the next customer in the line right beside us. "Sir, you're welcome to go in front of me!" the woman cheerfully told him. The man was caught totally offguard and kind of brushed her off, but I was so stunned by her random act of kindness. This woman was next in line! She had probably been waiting for at least 10 minutes. She had every right to pay for her items and leave. But instead? She reached out to the person next to her and sacrificed her right so that he would be a little happier.

As I walked out to my car a little later, I saw this same lady walking quickly across the parking lot toward an older gentleman who was struggling with his many bags. "Sir!" she called, "Do you need some help?"

Once again, I was stunned. Who this lady was, I have no idea. She has no clue that I saw either of these acts of kindness. She was not being kind to get any kind of recognition or admiration from anyone. But she, with her smile, cheerful attitude, and bold offers of sacrificial help to those around her, impacted me greatly.

What a jerk I am for standing around grumbling in my head as I stand in line at Wal-Mart! What huge opportunities I miss every day because I act just like "the world" acts in ordinary situations. I don't sieze chances to choose kindness and joy over tiredness and selfishness. I stand in Wal-Mart thinking that I deserve better than to be there, that I have some kind of right to faster service, shorter lines, happier shoppers all around me. Who am I to think this way? Wal-Mart (figuratively and literally speaking) should be the prime spot for me to show off Christ. Because, as I clearly saw today, it's the mundane, ordinary, every day experiences and places that offer believers the best chances to act in a way that is totally different from everyone else.

That lady, that stranger, brought so much conviction to me today. The next time I'm in Wal-Mart, I want to act like her. I have countless opportunities every day to bring glory to God and kindness to others in places as ordinary as Wal-Mart. I'm praying that I'll sieze them a little more often!


Tricia F said...

wow, that really is encouraging!

Tyne said...

*smile* Thanks for the encouragement! I will join you in this...