The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Good News From Christianity: Be Prepared to Help Others

In 1 Peter 1: 13-15, the author writes:  

13 Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance. 15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; 

My wife and I had a chance to live out our faith at the mall the other day. I was out buying a suit and she was providing perspective (always appreciated). The staff member of the store (which shall remain nameless for reasons that will soon become clear) who came to assist me knew his job well. He knew how to work with men who were making decisions they rarely need to make and are generally less than comfortable with. He was respectful and peppered the conversation with just enough humor to make the moment light and easy. I appreciated that. 

I took a suit jacket and pants into the changing room and while away, things started to take a sour turn. A man from another culture tried on a jacket that was obviously too small for him and began asking my wife inappropriate questions about its fit. She answered him and the staff member stepped in to field the questions instead. I saw some of this while checking the suit for fit in the mirror outside the fitting room. I liked the suit, had it marked for tailoring, and returned to the changing room. While there an uproar began from the man trying to fit himself into the too small jacket. 

He took offense at a comment made in jest by the staff member. He misconstrued it and went into a homophobic rant, demanding to see the manager. Now, at this point I'm going to make a call on what was going on based on past odious experience. In my opinion, this ill-tempered fellow was simply annoyed that he wasn't being served. He took the opportunity to misconstrue a small and inoffensive joke as a way of getting attention for himself and the assistance of the assistant manager, who in time would tell him what had already been said.

In the meantime, as our now rattled staffer was tending to the last details of the sale, he began to tremble. He explained to us that this was the second time such a thing had happened to him in the last year and he feared for his job. Here is where being prepared to act came in. We saw our moment as Christians to help another human being in need. I offered to pray for him later and he asked sincerely if I would do so now. I did. My wife, who was a direct witness to events, offered to write out what had really happened. Our clerk was grateful. He tried to call over the assistant manager, who would have none of it and marched off in deep indignation to the manager's office. 

A little while later, as we were having a gift wrapped, we saw our clerk heading for the manager's office. He thanked us again for our help, our concern, and our listening ear. We pray that things went well for him and that in inconsiderate lout who has an overstimulated sense of self-importance (or so it seems) wasn't able to get him fired because he felt entitled to faster service. [At the most generous, I suppose he could have been offended by the remark genuinely, misunderstanding the nuances of two different cultures ... but his behavior suggests otherwise to me ... but I try not to judge.]

Anyway, we have been preparing ourselves through regular worship, study, and living out our faith daily. In doing so, when the moment came, we were prepared to help. 

If you take 1 Peter 1 seriously today, who knows what you may be able to accomplish tomorrow. 

Follow up: It is not often you get to witness the outcome of your efforts. The clerk we helped called and asked if we could stop by the day he received the news. He told us that he believed that through our efforts he was able to keep his employment, although he was demoted in a way we feel was most unjust from floor salesman to floating cashier. Still, he was moved by the fact we cared. I was able to witness slightly, letting him know Jesus calls us to take such actions, loving and helping those whom it is within our power to assist. 

Step in where you can and show your faith in your actions. 

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