Yesterday, I shared my experience of grocery shopping in an unfamiliar store. Besides prompting an online search to find out more about jack fruit, the store spurred something else–a reminder to be available.
I don’t think I ever walked more than two aisles without finding a store employee, always willing to help. The majority spoke to me, asking me if I needed any help finding something or simply greeting me and asking how my day was going. I didn’t feel as if the employees were reciting a rehearsed script, although I’m certain they had been given a bank of possible interactions in their Customer Relations 101 course. Since I was just exploring up and down the aisles, I repeatedly told employees I was just meandering and didn’t need help right then. However, when I came to the end of the aisles and still had a couple necessities unfound and unchecked on my list, I approached someone. I felt completely comfortable walking up to the nearest employee, even though he hadn’t personally spoken with me yet, because of the ease with which the others had interacted with me. They weren’t bothersome. They weren’t sugary-sweet. They simply spoke to me, made eye contact, and let me get on my way if that’s what I chose to do.
How available are you to help others, and how do you respond when they prefer to get on their way? As Christians, do we work together even though we’re living separate lives, planting and nurturing seeds that we might never see mature? Are we responsive to noticing and helping people we have never met or poured into? How well do we do our part without trying to control the situation? How well do we stand our ground because it’s where God has placed us, not because it’s where we are most comfortable or because it’s our right to stand where we want to stand and say what we want to say? Are we authentic, or do we sound like a recording from our Christianity 101 training, complete with lingo from past decades?
We have a part to play, but we’re not the only ones working for and serving God. Be available. Be willing.
But don’t be annoying, robotic, or controlling.