God’s healing through a Walmart greeter

Woke up very unsettled early this morning, after dreaming about a totally disastrous, derailed, and dead in the water New Hope church service (yeah, this is what constitutes a nightmare for me!).  Whenever I go to sleep questioning some element or another of what we do as a church, this kind of fitful sleep usually results (often in response to someone making a comment that day about how we do church).  I should know better than to fall asleep before resolving the issue in my mind.  This time it was just a very small thing that was said, “I liked it when we used to do it that other way”, and it poked at my pride.  It was nothing at all really.  Minuscule in fact.  And you’d think a normal person would just let it slide, but my pride, it seems, didn’t want to do that.  It likes to make mountains out of molehills.  Not all the time – which is a mystery – but this time, big time.  It’s like the self inflating reservoir that is my pride has slowly, and imperceptively filled over time.  And I have no idea that it’s happened until it’s poked.  Then I realize how bloated my ego has become. 

So how did God poke a hole in my puffed up psyche this time?  By reminding me of Shirley, the Walmart greeter I’d met earlier this week (for my sermon entitled, God’s face in a Walmart greeter).  Before meeting her, I wondered if I’d ever be willing to do a job like hers?  I’d even thought that it might be cool to try her job out for a couple of hours (incarnational sermon research).  But I couldn’t…(now this is pathetic)… because I was too worried about someone I know seeing me do it.  So lying in bed this morning a single word comes to mind as I’m envisioning Shirley’s humble, serving face; “Kenosis”.   The theological idea that Jesus wilfully put some of his godness aside to take on human flesh in order to humbly love, serve and save us.  Jesus came from heaven to earth and endured great suffering, washed feet, took ridicule and abuse, in order to love, serve and save us.  The truth that Shirley embodied is Christ’s! God did this for you.  Surely you can serve in this same way for others. 

Almost instantly my pride dissipated.  And my heart was at rest.  And the small comment that that person had made seemed a good suggestion to me.  And the sermon topic that I’d chosen for Sunday felt more affirmed.  And my unclear sermon schedule for this season of Lent became clear; I’m gonna focus on becoming less, serving others, humility and selflessness (and I’ll do this series the way we used to do it, “that other way”).

6 thoughts on “God’s healing through a Walmart greeter

  1. Angela W

    You know, I have had that problem too, letting my mind take a mole hill and turn it in an instant into a mountain, to twist it into something halting and damaging-let it eat at my pride seed instead of holding out my hand and grasping firmly onto the truths that are set in my heart by the graciousness of God in the simplest of things. I had an amazing experience that opened my eyes in the face and story of a Walmart check out lady…http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=407890603363

    I love the way you write in honesty, conviction and truth;) Blessings!

  2. Kayleigh S.

    You know sometimes at work, being that I work in a grocery store, I think the same thing when old high school people come in. I wonder “do they think my life is terrible because this is where I work?”
    But then I remind myself, it really doesn’t matter at all what they think. What matters is that I am happy serving God right where I am. Whether I have status or not is really irrelevant in the big scheme of things.
    There is no better place to be than walking in God’s will. And right now, that means being a lowly grocery store employee. But you know what? I love my job and I love the fact that I come home every night and am able to say “That was a great day!”

  3. Jvs

    It wasn’t regressive at all Amber. Something we did last year in fact. 🙂 And (and this shows how really pathetic pride is) it was even something I was already wondering if I should do. Yeah.

  4. Anonymous

    Pastor John Van Sloten,

    How quickly our ego can interfere with our right or wrong decisions.
    Our world is a set of different sectors, all of equal value. Whether its the smiling greeter at Wal-Mart or the doctor who might of said something to give her that smile.
    My father was a highly successful business man, how ever he was a man who always recognized what your true worth was. He believed that as long as you went to that job in which God guided you to, you should be nothing but proud of yourself, and do a good days work. After all not everyone seeks higher education to become that Dr. or lawyer but yes we do need them. We need someone to come every week and pick up our garbage, change the oil in our cars, and lets not forget the one that pass’ us our Tims through the window.
    I guess when you can stop and say openly say that you couldn’t do something because of age, thats when God is telling you to do it anyways.
    Try to see that smiling greeter and knowing there could be only one person come through these doors that hasn’t seen a smile for a while. What huge ego should have knowing they might added a tiny ray of sunshine to someone’s day.
    Thanks for opening my eyes and showing me that every once and a while i need to take that step back and realize we are all Gods children.

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