God is always around us, but it can be easy to overlook Him when we’re busy with everyday life. Sometimes He’ll get our attention or teach us a lesson in the most unexpected places. He did that for me in the grocery store a few weeks ago.
God taught me a lesson in the grocery store
The woman at the grocery store check-out fidgeted, leg twitching and hands shaking as she tapped numbers into the keypad.
“I know the code is right,” she told the cashier. “I must have put in the number wrong. Can you clear it out and let me try again?”
The young cashier nodded. The woman reentered the numbers a second time and then a third, glancing back and forth between her phone and the keypad. I could tell she was growing more anxious with each passing second.
I looked away so she wouldn’t think I was staring and be further embarrassed.
“I’m sorry,” the woman told the cashier. She motioned toward the almost-full cart, the phone wobbling in her hand. “Can you put this on hold? I need to make a phone call.”
Before the cashier could answer, the customer from the adjacent line stepped over, credit card in hand. She left her son — who I guessed to be about 10 years old — standing with their own overflowing cart. “Let me help,” she said to our cashier. “Put it on my card instead.”
The cashier blinked in confusion. The anxious woman stared at this stranger who was offering help. I stared, too, no longer caring if people saw me watching.
“Go ahead,” the woman from the other line said. “Can’t you use my card instead?” She spoke firmly enough to be taken seriously but quietly enough to not draw the attention of others. When the cashier nodded, the woman inserted her card and the transaction was completed in less than a minute.
Tears filled the first woman’s eyes as she stammered, “Thank you. Oh my gosh. Thank you.”
“Take care. God bless you.” The paying customer smiled, collected her own groceries, and left the store with her son. Neither spoke, but the unsurprised look on the boy’s face told me this wasn’t the first time he’d witnessed his mother’s generosity.
The now-calm customer turned to me. “Wow,” she said. “Just wow.” She pushed her cart away, smiling and shaking her head in disbelief.
I shook my head and smiled too — until conviction pricked my heart.
The woman who offered help gave a beautiful gift to the woman in need — and those of us who witnessed it. I could have done the same thing but didn’t. I had tried to lessen the woman’s embarrassment by not staring, but I could have completely relieved it by paying for her groceries myself.
Shame filled me as I loaded my own groceries in the car. “Forgive me, Lord,” I prayed. “I should have helped her and I didn’t. That was my chance, but I didn’t take it.”
But you can help someone else. The voice in my spirit sounded as certain as if a person beside me had spoken.
The image of an older man with wire-frame glasses and a bushy white beard flashed in my mind. I saw him many mornings when I took a certain route to work, standing in the median at the end of the exit ramp. “Homeless and hungry” his battered cardboard sign announced.
Jesus said that during the final judgment, those who helped Him during their time on earth would inherit God’s kingdom.
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:35-40 ESV)
One morning I grabbed an apple and bottle of water from my lunch bag for the man at the exit ramp. But that was months ago, and I need to do better.
I returned to the store, this time to buy peanut butter crackers, fruit, and a few other nonperishable items. I can’t change the whole world, but I can make a small difference in the lives of people around me. Sharing with the man at the exit ramp can be a good place to start.
Your turn: How has God gotten your attention or taught you a lesson lately? Leave a comment below to help encourage someone else.Sometimes God will get our attention or teach us a lesson in the most unexpected places – like the grocery store check-out line. #seeingGod #wordsofhope #encouragement Click To Tweet