What Good Do You Carry Around?

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The elderly gentlemen in the self-checkout lane appeared to struggle with bagging his groceries.  He was methodical and very slow. In response to the subtle, but yet perceptible frustration of the lady next in line and in front of me, he placed the divider bar behind his groceries. The lady took the cue. She efficiently rang up her groceries, bagged them, and squeezed past the man. She was quickly on her way again.

We have all been there and can relate to this scene. In my younger years, I would have been discreetly rolling my eyes and cursing my bad luck to pick the slowest line. Life can be one busy obligation after another with places to go, things to do, and people to meet. Interruptions and delays are not welcomed in over-scheduled days.

Now that my husband is semi-retired and our boys are on their own, life isn’t so crazy. My days are still full, but there is much more flexibility in my schedule. Impatient tendencies can creep back in, but refreshing grace abounds more so. (Besides, I find that I can be the one who is slowing down the line!)

Situations like the grocery store scene always remind me of Proverbs 3:27. The words are a clear command from Scripture. Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Our importance, our schedules, and our busyness do not exempt us from doing good. We are to judge the need rather than the person. There are no limitations on the good we are to do. The good doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, just a simple act of love for that given moment in time.

The man was still finishing up when it was my turn to check out. I approached him with a smile, offered my help, and then wished him a good day as he went on his way. It didn’t take much effort on my part, but it sure felt good to act.

We all have the power to act with kindness, a smile, and an extra dose of patience for those around us, wherever we find ourselves. What good do you have to offer to someone in need? More importantly, what good are you holding back? God gives us the opportunities and His goodness to share with others. It is a responsibility, a privilege, a blessing, and sometimes a sacrifice to act. Done in the power of God’s love, joy results!

1 John 2:5

But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:

 

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10 thoughts on “What Good Do You Carry Around?

  1. Debbie, when you said that sometimes you might now be the one holding up the line, I sure related! So many things have changed and are changing with technology. When we buy gas at our grocery store gas station to get a discount, there is a process that always makes us think — ok scan card, follow the prompts exactly about how to apply the discount, payment method, etc. Same with online anything and everything. I feel slow and behind young people who roll easily with every change. No matter what though, whether in Biblical times the line is long at the town water well or ringing up groceries, we need to show kindness and give grace. One thing is for sure: We need both too!

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    • Donna, So true! Those long lines give us the opportunities “to show kindness and give grace.” (Now we know not to get in line behind each other! 🙂 Just kidding, I would love to have more time together to share in person the kindness and grace that God has been bringing into our lives this year!)

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  2. I find myself being irritated by people who are irritated by drivers following the speed limit or not turning left on a red light fast enough. I often think that drivers don’t realize that someone ahead of them might have just come from a doctor and received bad news about their health. They may have just lost a loved one, been laid off of work or anything. No one knows what is going on in the life of people ahead of them. How to stop being irritated by people who tailgate cars ahead of them or honk the horn at an older person for not turning right fast enough at a red light is something I haven’t accomplished yet. I guess, I need to think that they might be late for work or have to pick up their children or something like that. Last week, a young man honked the horn at ME for not turning left at a red light! He probably doesn’t realize that it is an option not a law, nor did he know that a close friend of mine was killed at that intersection last winter.
    Ginene

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    • Ginene, Driving is another great example where we can see the most impatient people. If I am not familiar with an area, I will stay stopped (without turning right) just to get my bearings and make sure that I am in the right place! (By the way, I am so sorry about the friend that you lost.) The older I get, the less I want to judge people for the reason that you stated: we don’t know what is going on in their lives. I guess I want to give people the benefit of the doubt because we all have bad days.

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  3. I read the following quote to my students on Friday. It speaks volumes.

    “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” John Wesley

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    • Thank you for sharing this quote! It makes the point stronger than I ever could have. Now the challenge is to live out these words with genuine joy! Just out of curiosity, what age are your students? (It could be a fun post to see how your students carried out Wesley’s quote! :))

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  4. We don’t know what pain he might have been in, just what it is that slowed him down. I remind myself that it could be me in no time when I find myself behind very old ladies taking very slow steps. We can also be praying, reading (I always carry something in my bag for wait lines), breathing fully and mindfully, or doing grounding/relaxation exercises in the waiting!

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    • I can tell that you are (have to be!) a multi-tasker! You are in that very busy season of life raising and homeschooling your son in addition to the rest of life’s responsibilities. And so wise already 🙂 … to show kindness and give grace (as Donna worded it in her comment.)

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  5. Thank you Debbie, you have a very Loving heart, one thing I always remember is that hurt people, hurt people unless they resolve their hurt and there is only one permanent way to do this and that is forgiveness, I found this True in my life, I will leave a link for you.

    Rescued- http://freedomborn.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/rescued-from-the-graveyard/

    What you shared Debbie is also very True, kindness brings it’s own rewards and words of comfort can lessen the pain but knowing and Loving The Lord heals the wound.

    Christian Love Always – Anne.

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    • A very long time ago, an elderly lady in a nursing home told me, “You have to be brokenhearted to be tenderhearted.” I have found that principle to be true and link it to 2 Corinthians 1:3-5: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

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