This afternoon I was madly trying to finish up my Christmas errands in the dollar store. In front of me, an older woman was at the till. She offered her $100 bill to pay for her purchases and she was told by a sighing cashier that they couldn’t accept $100 bills. The cashier then paged someone from the back. A stressed employee sporting a Santa hat also told her rather brusquely, “Nope, we can’t take no $100 bills”. No apology. No sorry for the inconvenience. Slumping shoulders told the story. She had waited in line for several minutes only to discover that she wasn’t able to pay for her items. Now she would have to find somewhere else to break the $100 bill in order to return, stand in line again and purchase what she came for. The cashier voided the items and she prepared to leave.
Suddenly, the young woman beside her offered to pay for the items. There was a bit of a scuffled conversation and the young woman continued to smile and said “Don’t worry about it. You shouldn’t have to wait in line all over again.” The cashier brightened a bit. The woman in front of me exclaimed, “Well, isn’t that nice!”. The whole atmosphere of the till area changed in a moment, from a place of disappointment, and frustration, to a place of light….
It was then that I realized my own attitude in this whole situation. I had felt inconvenienced by the need to wait longer at the till because of the situation. I had not felt sympathy for the woman because I knew that there was a sign posted on the door that the store cannot accept $100 bills.
Where was the love? Why had it not been I who had stepped up to offer help to the older woman? Where was my Christ-like attitude?
M.I.A Missing. In. Action.
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others…” Phil. 2:1-4
I am thankful to the woman who stepped up. As I said, her action, looking to the interest of another, resulted in a change in the harried, harrassed moment at the till in the midst of Christmas bustle. Her action caused the rest of us to appreciate a gesture of love. I only wish that I had been that person.