I’m sure these kinds of things happen to you. You know, those little moments God decides to teach you something unexpected. They are those times where you are just minding your own business going about your day and WHAM, God nails you with a zinger, a meaningful and memorable lesson. I had one of those moments the other day.
Here’s what happened. I was at the grocery story (I know I have shared a few stories from the grocery store and particularly when I was in line, but it’s in line where I’m not intent on the hunt of my purchase), I have collected my prey, now I want to bag it and move on. So as I wait I am immediately taken by the vast array of human behavior and sit back to enjoy this smorgasbord of entrainment. Like the little kid who is just in reach of the candy and is half way through a Milky Way while his dad is talking to his buddy, when his dad noticed. That was fun. What was more interesting is what the dad did with the candy bar. I will leave that to your imagination. I also love watching the grandma who had about seven thousand coupons, all unorganized, and not quite the product she is purchasing, and once finished pulls out her check book and proceeds to fill out the check with the most meticulous, yet a little shaky, handwriting you have ever seen. But what’s more intriguing is to watch the people around her and the store clerk. Again, I will leave it to your guess how people reacted.
Back to what happened. As all this activity was going on, a frantic woman with a handful of items was looking for a shorter line. It was one of those times when all the check stands were full and it seemed as if all the people in the store decided to check out at the same time (I don’t know about you, but I seem to always pick those times!). Anyway, I started to think, ‘Good luck lady, we are all in a rush, just hold on and wait your turn.’ I was next and could have let her go before me, but I was in a hurry trying to squeeze as much productivity out of my time as possible. But then one of the members of our church or someone who knew what I did, yelled out “Hi Pastor Mike.” Just as the frantic yet hopeful woman caught my eye, I was ratted out. Now I had to interact with her and she went for it with a kind of I-know-you-have-to-be-nice-to-me-look. She said to me, “You don’t mind if I go ahead of you, I’m in a hurry…pastor.” (I don’t really remember if she said ‘pastor’ but I think she did or at least implied it).
Now that everyone in my line and others around me knew I was pastor, I felt a little shame for not initiating the care. I mean, if anyone should at least interact with this woman it ought to be that pastor guy. So, feeling that slight shame and a little used (the negative kind of being used, like taken advantaged of), I said of course and she purchased her groceries.
So now comes the point God nailed me on. Oh there were a multiplicity of lessons, like the one that states ‘wherever you are be all there,’ don’t be always thinking of the next thing so you don’t miss where God has placed you. I was so intent on getting out of there I maybe missed connecting with that person who said hi, or those in line who now knew I was a pastor, or missed sharing God’s love. Who knows what I missed. As well as the lesson that I get too intent on my productivity and maybe I need to be open to those divine interruptions God brings along.
Anyway, what got me was what happened, or what did not happen as this woman left, because all she did was leave. She paid for her groceries, got on her cell phone and walked out the door. No verbal thank you, no nod of appreciation, no wave of gratitude. I could not believe it. For that moment, (I am sorry to say I wanted that thank you) I wanted to be seen as benevolent, I wanted to get the credit, I wanted the glory. Wow, but yes I can easily slip to that. Then came the WHAMY. God pushed a question into my head…Who’s glory are you really after? And then came the Bible verse…
1 Corinthians 10:31 31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
Not my glory, not so I can be noticed, not so I can be recognized, but so God gets the glory. It made me think about how much I seek my own glory and how I should be more diligent about going after God’s glory. I love what John the Baptist said about Jesus …
John 3:30 30He must become greater; I must become less.
So I wonder, and maybe you can wonder with me, as I live my life, who really gets the glory? Am I living in such a way that God is being noticed, becoming greater than my wants, desires and ways, OR is it just the opposite. I know it’s for our best and the right way for us to “do it all for the glory of God.” May it be so with each of us.
Seeking to God’s Glory with you,