Spiritual lessons from the grocery store

It’s been nearly two years since I’ve been working at my local grocery store. About half way into the first year I started to notice I wasn’t enjoying it as much. It quickly became that average, boring job I would have to wake up early for, and deal with all sorts of interesting customers. Over this past year God has begun to work in me and I’ve realized the amazing opportunity I have to be a witness in the lives I see everyday. I know God has placed me at this job for a reason, and even though It’s not permanent, I can have joy in knowing that He has me where He wants me. So without further ado, here is how the Lord has been working.

1.Patience

I tend to work a lot of eight hour shifts and so usually by the middle of my work shift I’m eager to get things done as quick as I can and get people through the line. When I was doing this, my impatience was leading me to complain and increased my frustration. I wasn’t responding to customers in the most joy-filled way I could be.

I soon found out that when I was impatient I would be rushing through life which would lead to being overwhelmed and stressed. Once I realized something was wrong and God began to show me true patience, It changed my thinking and I found how rewarding it is. When I cultivated patience into my daily work my faith was being built stronger.

Practicing patience made me calmer, optimistic and He gave me peace of mind. I would start responding joyfully even during the business and people noticed.

Patience is the supernatural fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” – Romans 12:12

2. Kindness

When working at a grocery store you are bound to encounter some difficult people. And practicing Christ-like kindness to others has been a challenging one over time. Something that I’ve been doing every time I’m at work is to be more intentional in my showing of kindness and being consistent. I find it easy to show kindness to the customers who show it back but it is the ones who are more difficult that probably need it the most.

The Lord says we should love our enemies, knowing that in kindness, we can change hearts. And I can say I have seen this first hand. I recall a certain older gentleman who would continually come through my line. Great, this guy again, I would think to myself as he placed his items grumpily on the belt. I would say hello but it was always returned with silence or a grunt. As I continued to give him a smile and a friendly hello, I began to notice after a few weeks he didn’t throw the items as hard on the belt and he actually would respond back to me.

Kindness is a daily practice and choice, if we are faithful and patient, those seeds slowly will grow stronger and will have the power to potentially change someones life.

Be kind to unkind people, cause they need it the most.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

3. Humility

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only on his own interests, but also to the interest of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 2:3-4

Something I’ve been praying about more frequently in my personal life is for God to humble me in every area of life. And He sure has done that at my work. Humility is an important part of the Christian faith and when we naturally want to choose what is best for us, God says to lay down our interests and sacrifice our time for the needs and interest of others.

Admit when I’ve made a mistake

There have been many times I was either going too fast, wrung up the wrong item or charged them more than what they paid for. Whatever it is, it can be super embarrassing and for me, it was easy for me to come up with an excuse why it happened. But when I apologized and fixed the problem, people were very gracious and understanding.

Listening more and talking less

Something I’ve been trying to do is being cautious not to dominate any of the conversations I’m having with a customer, especially when they are super chatty. This is also a good time for me to practice patience ( see number 1. )

Welcoming criticism

Like I said, I’ve been working at the grocery store for almost two years so I feel like I know the store pretty well. But I know I could grow and be better at what I do. Another way God has been teaching me humility is by seeking out honest evaluations of my work and where I can improve.

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less. – C.S. Lewis

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with on another in love.”

Staying Faithful

As I said in the beginning I don’t plan on working at a grocery store the rest of my life. However, I know God has me right where He wants me and even though I can’t see the bigger picture, God promises that if we are faithful in the little things then we will be faithful in greater things. We as believers can be a witness anywhere we are, whether it’s a missionary in Africa or a young woman cashiering in a small hometown supermarket. It has taken me a year but I finally have found a true joy in my job and I’m just taking one day at a time knowing He has a plan and a purpose, and I look forward to seeing what He has planned!

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23

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