I’m starting to learn that following Jesus is a full-time calling.
And I’m not talking about this government-regulated 40-hour work week stuff. No. I’m talking about every waking moment.
Now I’m not saying that we have to be “on” and doing “ministry” at every moment. But what I am saying is that we need to be open to whatever God wants to do in us or through us at any moment in any place.
Even at the grocery store.
At the Grocery Store
So here’s the story that inspired this post:
The other day I needed to run to the grocery store. So I left the comforts of home and made my way to the market.
The grocery store that I went to is one of my regular haunts. I know most of the cashiers’ faces and a few of their names. This time, however, when I went to check out, I ended up in a line with someone I had never seen before.
I never caught her name because her name tag was flipped over, but she was pleasant enough. She made a few little jokes and I politely laughed. As I have mentioned before, I am an introvert and small talk is pretty much the bane of my existence. But I felt like I needed to clue in, so I started paying attention.
The cashier was making a small grimace with her face each time she reached for my items with her right hand. She noticed that I noticed and started talking about the pain in her wrist. She told me all about it — when it started, what her doctor said about it, how long it takes to get in at the local clinic, and how she has to miss work sometimes because of the pain.
In fact, she talked so much that she was still talking even though I had paid for my items and reloaded my basket. She kept talking.
Now I need to be honest. My first reaction was to be frustrated. My wife was waiting for me at home and it had been a long day. All my selfish side wanted to do was to shut her down and get out of there.
But due to the fact that my wife and I (and some of our closest friends) have been attempting to make ourselves more available to God, I felt a small voice in the back of my mind telling me to listen up. So I did. I put all my introvert tendencies aside and continued to listen.
The cashier talked for another minute or two. (Luckily there was no one else in line!) Then I felt a very clear impression to ask her if she was a praying person. So I did:
“Are you a praying person?”
“What?” she said.
“Do you pray?”
“Sometimes. Well, not really all that much.”
“Would you mind if I prayed for you?” I replied.
“Uh, sure, I guess.”
I let go of my basket and moved in closer to her and asked if I could touch her wrist where she was feeling pain. She extended her right hand and I took her forearm in my right hand. It kind of looked like a Roman hand shake.
I bowed my head and closed my eyes and said a really short prayer asking Jesus to heal her. When I finished praying, I opened my eyes and we made solid eye contact for a few seconds. She had gotten a little misty and I told her that I hoped Jesus would heal her. Then we parted ways.
I went back last night to check on her at the grocery store and she wasn’t at work. When/if I see her again, I’ll post a short update!
So I’m only telling this story for one reason: we need to be more available. I’ve lived much of my life viewing others as extras in the movie of my life. This is unfair and selfish on my part.
God sends us to the places where we work, live, play…and shop! Even the grocery store!
And the only reason this story sticks out in my memory is because it is the exception to the rule: I’m usually unavailable.
I’m distracted, or looking at my phone, or staring off into the distance, or talking to someone I came with.
But when I make myself available for God to use, he does! And I guarantee that if you make yourself available, God will plug you into the work he’s already doing in the places where you work, live, and play.
Even at the grocery store.
(BONUS: This isn’t the first time that something interesting has happened to me at the grocery store. Click here to read another post about an unexpected missional encounter at the grocery store!)
So, how has God used you in unexpected ways? Has he used you at the grocery store? Let me know in the comments below!