Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Shopping Cart at Wal-Mart

We don't go to Wal-Mart as much as we used to.  The fact that the closest one doesn't keep its shelves stocked as well as it should and the fact they actually keep their prices higher than other Wal-Marts (they're the only game in town) has soured us on shopping there for the most part.  Yet, when my daughter decided to redeem some of her tooth-fairy, birthday, and Christmas money, we took her there. 

While pulling into a parking spot, I witnessed an intriguing incident.  It's an incident that I have actually been a part of previously.  In front of us, a man in a Chevy Blazer was pulling into a particular space.  Some ungrateful soul had left a shopping cart in that space, and instead of getting out of the car and moving the cart, the man tried to bump it out of the way with his vehicle.  It wasn't working.  You could see the frustration on his face, so finally he got out of the vehicle.  He walked up to the shopping cart, and promptly pushed it into another parking space right in front of him.

"Hmmm," I thought.  "How intriguing."

A man gets angry because someone left a shopping cart in a space he desired.  He gets out and moves it--into another parking place which just happens to be right next to the designated cart space.  So, when inconvenienced, he is willing to get out and work just enough to provide a space for himself, but he's not afraid to inconvenience someone else by his actions.  Weird.

It almost highlights perfectly the way a lot of our society works today.  I'll do just enough for me, myself, and I, but I'll be damned if I go above and beyond the call of duty for someone else.  I mean, come on, dude, 15 more feet of pushing and you would have the cart where it's supposed to be and the parking place would be clear.  Is that too much to ask?

Apparently so.

(And just so you know what I did and am not simply complaining; I took that cart for my family to use in the store. When I came out, there were two other baskets in that place, so I removed them and put them in the cart space as well.)

It's somewhat amazes me to see this kind of attitude pervasive in much of society today.  Especially when there are so many self-proclaimed Christians around.  I mean, don't get me wrong.  I see a lot, and I mean A LOT of charity and kindness from Christians.  My congregation members do some awesome things for others.  Whether helping out with medical bills or light bills or rent, you name it, they've forked over cash for it; or showing acts of kindness and compassion to those who are hurting--sending cards, calling, spending time with--they've done it and continue to do it.  And I know my congregation isn't alone.  There are many other people who do such things in and through their church, but how often do we see such things taking place outside the church?  How often do we see people pushing shopping carts away from parking spaces and into designated return areas just because?  How often do we see people cleaning up litter and making things look a little neater even when they don't have to?  How come we pass such things off as someone else's responsibility instead of realizing that such acts are little acts of kindness that flow from a life of service to God and to one another?

Is it so hard or so time consuming to put one's faith into action through such small deeds? 

I don't believe the world gets changed through grandiose acts that move mountains and drain the oceans, but I believe the world becomes a better place through little acts done with great love (Mother Teresa).  Is it too much to ask for those of us who are Christians to do such things?

1 comment:

Kathy said...

I'm surprised that more people don't comment on your blog.... I just read it and also your link to "ELCA Conservative." She wrote:

"It's days like this that I wish (modern) Lutherans hadn't ditched the tradition of private confession and absolution."

This fits in perfectly with the Augsburg Confession. Luther had no intention of "ditching" private confession; Luther just didn't like the fact that some idiot confessor told him he had to recite a laundry list of sins.... do you see how the Devil confuses issues? Poor Luther did not know enough to see that he was just getting bad spiritual direction, so he blamed the Church, and then everything got messed up.

You wrote in your previous post:

"And so we seem to be stuck between longing for the truth but dreading it."

I will now venture into the Augsburg Confession.... Incredibly, in the very first sentence of the Preface, the Turks, the Muslims, are mentioned. How ironic. The first paragraph concludes with: "so we may be able to live in unity and concord in the one Christian Church."

Yes! It is possible! We have nothing to fear.