Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Puppies & Potato Salad

This mission I have dubbed Operation: Commissary of Christ. Lace up your "army" boots. Put on your helmet. For we are not an Army of One, but rather An Army of the Son! AMERICA! 

It happened last Saturday and was very spur of the moment. I had just finished this week’s reading and viewing this weeks videos for my masters class a few hours before summoning the motivation to go to the commissary here on post at Fort Benning. I have discovered that while the commissary is a place of convenience to buy groceries at a decent price, it is rarely a place of peace or joy. As I drove to the commissary, I felt God tugging at my heart and the messages from my daily studies were ringing in my ears. I felt as if I had been transformed. I wasn’t just going into the commissary to get groceries. I was going as a representative of Christ. I began to pray for God to allow the Holy Spirit to work within me to be a servant evangelist while doing my grocery shopping. 

It was the typical Saturday afternoon chaos at the store. But instead of adding to the chaos, I walked slower. I made eye contact with people. I smiled. I took at number and waited at the deli counter. The deli worker who started filling my order was named Brian. He looked very disheveled and overwhelmed. He had to ask me several times to remind him what I wanted; I did so with courtesy, patience and a smile (obviously brought by the Holy Spirit.) He kept apologizing and said with a sigh “It is just that time of day.” I maintained eye contact with him and told him sincerely that it was ok. When he filled my order, my heart was pounding and I knew what I had to do. I took my lunchmeat, looked right into his eyes and said “Thank you so much, Brian. You did a great job. May God bless you.” His entire face changed. It softened. You could see the gratitude. I am pretty sure that I purposely said it loud enough that the gruff old soldier standing in line beside me raised an eyebrow then cracked a smile as well. Operation: Commissary of Christ, Mission 1: Complete. 

I proceeded to the check out, with a genuine smile still on my face. I got in line of a cashier was dealing with a difficult customer who couldn’t find the potato salad he wanted. He was already checking out and my cashier went back to retrieve potato salad from the deli. You could the cashier was very upset, and obviously worried about my reaction. I just smiled as she apologized and told her to take all the time she needed. She returned with aforementioned potato salad, and I got a closer look at her. In addition to the stress written on her face, her right eyebrow was pierced and she was wearing a green shirt that said “I would smile more if you were less of an idiot.” OH SNAP.  My heart beat faster, and I asked God to show me what I could do for her. The potato salad issue was finally resolved and it was my turn to check out. I asked how she was doing and she replied, “I am working overtime today. I am so tired. It is not easy.” As she scanned my last item, I choked out “Well, I am getting ready to go home myself and eat supper. How can I pray for you? Oh, and what is your name?” 

Her reaction made my heart thud with glee. Just as it was with Brian, her face softened and she smiled. She stuttered for a few seconds caught off-guard, saying that her name was Meghan. I asked if I could pray for the remainder of her shift and for her to get some rest this weekend. Meghan’s face lit up, smiled even bigger and said that would be perfect. As I gathered my stuff to walk away, she looked right back at me and whispered “You have a very blessed day, ma’am.” I was flying! Thank you Holy Spirit! Operation: Commissary of Christ Mission 2: Complete. 

I did the same thing with my carryout associate. We struck up a conversation on the way to the car. As my groceries were loaded into my car, I continued to smile and asked her name and if I could pray for anything for her. A smile spread from ear to ear, and Brooke replied that she needed prayers for her and her mother to sell her puppies because they were expensive and costing the family money. Can do! As I realized as I got in my car to drive away, I still had her tip in my hand because I was so excited about her reaction. So I got out of my car, sprinted back up to the door and gave Brooke her tip. Her gratitude was overwhelming. Operation: Commissary of Christ Mission 3: Complete. 

It doesn't really matter if the folks you interact with have serious life issues that need praying for or if they just need sleep and help selling puppies. People want to be loved. They want to be cared for. By treating folks this way, we can represent Christ. Has your attitude reflected that of Christ today? I know we can't all be on our "A-game" accomplishing evangelistic missions through love 24/7, but do the most you can, where you are, with what you have... We have God... What more do we really need? 

Mission Accomplished (for today anyways), 

"For a long time now—to this very day—you have not deserted your brothers but have carried out the mission the LORD your God gave you." --Joshua 22:3

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