I got an early start one day last week and found myself at our local grocery store before 10 cars were in the parking lot! I love getting there when all the grocery carts are neatly stacked up and the line and the deli isn’t three deep. It’s almost exhilarating to wander down empty aisles with a cup of my first coffee of the day in hand. I did not have many items to get, so I grabbed what I needed and headed to the “15 items or less” check-out line. I guess it was just out of habit I chose that line because the other check-outs weren’t busy…at all! But more likely, it was the compliant side of me. If it says “15 items or less” then, of course, that’s where I should be! As I loaded my 12 items onto the counter I noticed a sweet looking very young man behind the cash register wearing a smart white shirt and a navy, white and purple striped tie… and a shiny name tag that said “Jason”.
As he acknowledged me I said, “Good morning, Jason”. He gave me a sorta smile and looked up from under his black rimmed glasses.
I am a morning person… always have been and probably will always be. I wake up happy to meet each day.
I grew up in a very divided home when it came to mornings! My dad was a morning kind of a guy. I can still see him sitting at the kitchen table already sipping his coffee and reading the paper as I came down in the morning. “Morning, darlin’!” He would say in the happiest of happy voices!
My mother was not the always ready to be cheerful in the morning. She was quiet in the morning. She liked to ease into the day… without greetings, discussions or any human interaction for that matter. I must say thought, she did embrace mornings once the kids were all out of the house. Hmmmm, I wonder if we had anything to do with that?
Daddy and I would talk and discuss the world’s problems and joke and laugh, something that my mother could never understand!
But I digress, as Jason was pushing my 12 items past the barcode thingy I mentioned his nice tie, “Jason, what a handsome looking tie you have on”. He looked a little surprised and then a slow sweet smile overtook his face. “Thanks”, he said. And then added, “I thought I should wear a tie when I came to work. I bought another tie so I wouldn’t have to wear the same one every day”. Oh my goodness, I thought that was so cute I just wanted to hug the stuffin’ out of him! I didn’t because I thought that might be a little scary! But he was just so stinkin’ cute!!!
He went on to ask me if I knew how to get the crinkle at the top of his tie out and I told him that I thought his tie looked perfect and that was just the way ties were. I told him that when I was a young girl I went to a Scottish boarding school and had to wear a tie like his every day. This intrigued him. And because there was no one in line behind me we chatted for a couple of minutes.
Then he said the sweetest thing… “You are so kind”. What a darling thing to say. Then he said, “Not everyone is kind.” This took me back a little. “Well, shame on them if they aren’t”, I replied. And he said in a soft voice as I put my bag into my cart, “You’d be surprised how many people aren’t when they’re shopping… I guess it’s just the way things are.”
I actually left the grocery store a little sad. I was sad that Jason, the smartly dressed young clerk with two ties, had to work in a 15-items-or-less checkout line where people came and went all day sometimes treating him less than nice… I was sad that people act that way…I was sad for what made people act that way… I was sad that “it’s just he way things are”…I was sad that life’s reality had smacked down my bluebird-of-happiness-kind-of-a-day!
I’ve really been thinking about my encounter with Jason and the fact that kindness is such an arbitrary commodity. Kindness is valuable and powerful and has the ability to make a great difference in other’s life… and in our own. Why then, is it often given so miserly.
I believe God when he says Satan is the ruler of this world. At least, for now! I believe that all people come into this world not good, but broken. I also believe and know that in our own power we cannot be consistently and sacrificially kind. How do I know this… because I know me and believe what the Bible says!
But I also believe that God gives us the power, His power, to be kind.
BUT THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS AND SELF-CONTROL Galatians 5:22-23
When the Holy Spirit takes up residence and we give Him control of our lives, only then can we live a life of on-going kindness. He brings great power to our lives so that we can live in godliness no matter what our circumstance at any time may be. The fruit, or visible attribute, of kindness, will exude from us!
Believe me, I lived decades without Christ’s salvation and with no Holy Spirit kindness in my life. Selfishness marked those years. I would never again want to live my life before Jesus came into it. Oh, I could be kind and cheerful, but only when I was feeling that way. Back then kindness was a not a way of life.
Even now, I sometimes mess us and don’t live out my God-bought-freedom-from-sin life. But, I can get right back on track and continue on! I have a powerhouse living inside of me!
How about you? Do you have the power to live the life God has created you to live? Are you the person God made you to be?
There is so much power to live a life of goodness and kindness and joy in spite of our circumstances. Let’s live our real, God given lives. It will bless us and everyone we meet!
This week’s memorization verse:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12