Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"1 (Lyrics)
Galatians 6:9 – Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV)
Have you noticed lately a growing trend among store clerks to drop those "three little magic words": "please" and "thank you"? The cashier simply states what we owe, with no eye contact and no smile. If she were a child, we'd prompt her by leaning in and quietly tacking on "please". Hopefully, she'd obediently repeat it. But the cashier is an adult. We can't do that for fear of offending her — even though she's just offended us. We can hardly call the manager because she didn't say "please". Isn't it tempting to refuse to say "thank you" when handed our change? Or perhaps we could leave our shopping there and walk away indignantly? Instead, we find ourselves saying "thank you". But we vow never to shop there again.
It's human nature to want to retaliate. Do we really believe that if we dropped a note to the manager, anything would change? We might decide that they didn't deserve our patronage and boycott the store. But if the store is large and convenient, we usually return and hope for a more pleasant clerk to serve us.
Sometimes, we feel that we're overworked and under-appreciated. We don't see any results of our labour. We become discouraged and resentful, and we take it out on those close to us, those we serve.
We often forget that's why we're all here: to serve one another, as a salesperson, a mother, a doctor, a teacher, or in any other capacity. The Bible tells us to treat others as we'd like to be treated ourselves. Be polite, respectful, honest, and cheerful. No work is unimportant in God's eyes. Whether it's our career, or "just a job", or volunteer work, it's our attitude that counts.
We're God's ambassadors — His hands and feet in this world. We're supposed to be different; the Bible says that we're "set apart". So let's persevere. Let's keep going, keep trying, not in our own strength, but in God's. Let's continue to be cheerful and respectful, even when someone is rude or demanding. Let's stay focused on what we're here for: to serve, with humility, as Jesus did.
Prayer: Lord, too often, we blame our behaviour on a "bad day". Or we'd like to retaliate, or quit trying. But a smile, a kind word, or a helpful hand can make all the difference to someone else. We don't often see the seeds we've sown, but one day, we will. Help us to remember the Golden Rule, and let others see Jesus in us. Amen.