My Trip to the Grocery Store

If you know me well at all, I’ve pretty much always looked at my trips to the grocery as an adventure.  Early on as a new mom, I often found myself  as excited as a puppy with a new bone when I got to go to the store.  Seriously, it was like the only time I got out of my house alone!   The grocery store experience has oddly enough been a great source of teaching for me, too.  I tend to watch people a lot when I’m shopping.  I guess, for me, the grocery store has always been a huge source of social interaction for me.  Not getting out too much in those early parenting days, the grocery store became my mission field.  If I was going to share Jesus with anyone, it would probably be at the store.  All that said, how I treat those who serve me at the store has been a huge focus for me.  I try to treat them as I want to be treated.

I took a very big trip to the store yesterday.  We had just gone on vacation, and I had let everything pretty much run out at our house, so this trip was a TWO buggy trip once all of it was bagged.  The bagging of my groceries became a teaching lesson for me, though. Who knew? Right in the midst of trying to get out of the store, God showed me a very clear, simple word…a word that is not new to me, but a very significant reminder, nonetheless.  It’s been said,

Excellent people exceed expectations

Unfortunately, I wish I could say the young man bagging my groceries exceeded expectations in his job yesterday.  As he loaded up half of my groceries (someone else did the first part) into the two buggies, he looked at me and asked, “Do you think you’re gonna need help getting these to your car?” Ummm…let me see…(The picture of me dragging a buggy and pushing a buggy as I wore a rather long maxi dress played out in my mind – an image, I might add, had me laid out on the pavement after only a few steps, tripping over that long dress)…”YES, I need your help, seeing as I have two carts of groceries…your help would be nice.”  I chalk this up to “he’s just a youngin’ and doesn’t know better” and we head out to my car.  Once at my car, he turns to me and asks with a rather pained look on his face, “Are you gonna want me to unload these into your car?”  Ummm…while I am admittedly particular about how my groceries are loaded in, the task of two buggies overwhelmed me in that horrible South Carolina heat, along with my rather skewed perception that this was, after all, his job.  Let me pause here and say, before you write me comments about sounding snooty that this was his job, let’s think about this…it was, indeed, his job.  So, let’s move on.  I said, “Yes, I would really appreciate your help today, but I tell ya what…I’ll unload on this side and you unload on that side, OK?” “K.”  So, we set off, unloaded the groceries into my car and it was done.  As I drove home thinking about this experience, which really is insignificant in the bigger picture, I thought a lot about how I just try to get by with very little effort.  A lot of this thinking starts with…ME!  What do I think about myself?  Do I value my worth…that I have something to contribute?  I do believe that the bag boy at the store was young, and that alone doesn’t determine his lack of work ethic for the rest of his life, but I do believe that that young man needs to step it up and put a little more heart into it.  The Bible says to the Christ-follower, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart…”Colossians 3:23a.  We may think what we contribute to the Body of Christ is not significant, but that’s not what God says to us.  He just wants us to do our best, and doing our best will be our excellent! What we tell our kids about doing their best often never penetrates our own hearts.  I’ve talked to my girls lately about doing everything without complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:14).  Why?  I want them to grow up to be excellent human beings.  Their future employers, for one, will thank me.  I want them to know that when we grumble and complain about every. single. thing that we look like a very. little. human.  This is a lesson for me, too.  When we do everything we set our mind to with excellency of heart, then the small task doesn’t seem so small.  It looks like a greater piece of the bigger picture.

I read this the other day…”Watch out for that girl…She may change the world.”  With a do whatever it takes, excellency mentality we can then say, “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” (anonymous)  Training ourselves to do the best we can will open up doors for us that we never thought we were capable of opening.  What attitude or work ethic do you need to change today to begin to function with excellency? What’s holding you back?

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