It was a sunny weekend afternoon and, like us, many people thought that shopping at Costco would be the best way to enjoy it. Anyone who has patronized Costco knows what a busy day there looks and feels like. For those that have not had this pleasure, I would describe it as a mild Black Friday. After buying a few items in seemingly comically large proportions, I was anxiously standing in the long deli line that only accepts cash payments. I do not normally carry cash, so I was extra excited to be a part of this prehistoric trade ritual. I was nearing the front of the line trying not to look down on all of the members only feet behind but many minutes from their turn at the register. There was only one customer ahead of me: a little girl probably around seven years old. At first it was her bravery that stood out to me the most. I was intimidated by this long and busy line that required you to stand closer to strangers than anyone would like, and here this girl was all by herself. “Way to go!” I thought. Then the busy cashier asked the girl if she had any more money. She reached in her pockets and when empty heads came out she started frantically looking for her parents. There was no hope of finding them in the craziness. She would lose her place in line and the additional 15 minute line wait would deter even the most patient parents. A thought rose up inside of me: pay the difference for the brave, little girl. So I passed the imaginary courtesy line and gave the cashier a whole dollar. Yes, it was just a dollar. Not dollars, just dollar, as in the singular form. I was not some crazy philanthropist. I am not sure if the brave girl saw me or not, but either way I felt so godly. I mean that is something I learned right out of Sunday school, treat other as you would want to be treated and be selfless. Man! I had gotten it. I was so godly and I felt so good. I was also good at math and accounting. So when the cashier went to return the change I knew that it was obviously mine, right? I offered my hand out to receive the coins and the girl, still semi frantic, looked up at me wondering what I was doing there. Now I just shut down. I didn’t know how to explain that the change was obviously mine to her and the cashier was in a rush and I had just done a great thing, right? Then I hear very clearly, audibly, authoritatively and maybe even annoyed, “Let the girl keep the change!” I stepped back slightly humbled and gave her the space to get her items and then I ordered my 1 item. I reviewed the event and thought about how I would have gone about it differently. I wondered if there were any scriptures that would be relevant. The scriptures came to mind: “But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”Matthew 6:3 NLT http://bible.com/116/mat.6.3.nlt
“Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:4 NLT http://bible.com/116/mat.6.4.nlt.
In retrospect, I would have just lightly placed the singular dollar on the counter when the girl was looking for her parents and stepped back behind the imaginary courtesy line and taken pleasure in the fact that nobody but my Father would have taken pleasure in the situation. I also think of the scriptures: “An open rebuke is better than hidden love!”Proverbs 27:5 NLT http://bible.com/116/pro.27.5.nlt
“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12 NLT http://bible.com/116/pro.3.11-12.nlt.
My prayer: Father please help me to be more like You. I welcome and will try to stay aware of Your gentle direction and loud rebuke when I am not listening. Thank You for stepping in and interacting with me and letting me hear Your character. Thank You for the Living Word and helping it to grow inside of me, Your “godly” little child. Thank You for taking an interest in me and forging me to be more like You.”