“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”
- Colossians 4:5
Early morning seemed the best time to make a quick run to the grocery store before the crowds hit, as seems to be the case during this corona-virus crisis. We didn’t need much, just a few essentials. When I arrived the shelves were bare as expected, but except for bananas, thankfully I was not in need of any of the items that were sold out. Then, while standing in the checkout line it occurred to me how exhausted these poor store employees must be, prompting me to remark to the checkout lady, “You all deserve the congressional medal of honor for all you’re doing.” Her response shocked me as she looked up teary-eyed. “You have no idea how badly I needed to hear that,” she replied. Then, nodding toward the young woman bagging my groceries she asked, “Would you tell her what you just said to me?” Which I did, to which she also was deeply moved.
Now, before I break my arm patting myself on the back over this brief moment of compassion, allow me instead to confess to being as self-absorbed as the rest of the crowd, most of the time at least; for until that moment I had been as caught up in the frenzy as the next person. Instead, I share this experience because for me it was a wakeup call, reminding me to start paying attention to the needs of my neighbors, not just me and mine. As in the case of those overworked employees, to be more sensitive to what they really need which is to be shown a little appreciation. And it’s as simple as saying thank you.
“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you know how to answer everyone.” What brilliant words from the Apostle Paul, as if they were written just for us in this very moment in time.
Those store workers needed appreciation and encouragement, but some need a phone call, some need a ride, some need a friend, others a prayer, and many are hungry and need to be fed. All of us need something, don’t we? So, let us be wise in the way we act, and make the most of every opportunity to share with those in need what we have to offer – like the friend who knew my need and just delivered bananas to my doorstep!