I went to the local Walmart Supercenter today to pick up some medicine. As I was walking to find an available cashier, I found that the closest cash register that was open was the tobacco aisle. I thought that perhaps I should progress further to another line which was at the far end of the store. I would not want someone I minister to thinking that I smoke; I thought of my moral authority. Truth be told, there was a time span of a few years where I actually did smoke. I was very addicted and very much struggled with attempt after attempt to quit. Patches, prescriptions, gum and lozenges could not help me. When I put it in the hands of God, it was the Holy Spirit who helped me to overcome this addiction without any other aid. Nonetheless, I was feeling this great burden to take my medication to the tobacco aisle checkout.
There was a lady in front of me in line, and there was a gentleman checking out his purchases. He was giving the cashier a lot of grief. The cashier was talking with a pleasant voice and just oozing kindness. The man on the receiving end responded with bitterness and anger. Nothing was right for him. The cashier was getting flustered. After much time, the gentleman was finished and the cashier said, “Merry Christmas” as he was leaving. Then the lady that stood in line in front of me was ready to be served. This customer was demonstrating a lack of interest in the cashier. She just wanted to get out of the store by the look of things. The lady never responded to the cashier; she didn’t seem to want to be bothered. After a negative comment whispered under her breath, the lady began walking off. Once again, the cashier chimed, “Merry Christmas.“ Finally, it was my turn. I noted her name is Dottie. She was smiling despite being on the receiving end of so much grief. She provided excellent customer service. We spoke a little, and before I departed, the cashier, Dottie, was so grateful that she grabbed my hand and said, “Merry Christmas.”
Kindness and love can be shared in the simplest of ways. It is so sad that during the Christmas season, we see so many people out and about being miserable to others. We fight and bump our shopping carts simply trying to get the best deal on gifts to give to celebrate Christmas. We rush around driving and cut people off because we have a list of stores we want to visit to get the best bargains for these Christmas gifts. It seems as if we gather up as much stress as possible during the holiday season, rather than simply celebrate the birth of our Saviour. As we get closer to the big day, Christmas Day, I pray that you are able to feel the joy, the true joy of Christmas— and to spread that joy to others. There are too many bah-humbugs running about. Lets show people Jesus!
“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 [NLT]
We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are to share Jesus, to show everyone Jesus, to point to Jesus. This is not something that we can take lightly, and it’s not something that we simply pick up on when Sunday comes around. This is a 24/7 call from God. We don’t need to have a title, hold countless degrees, or have a class we teach on Sunday to obey this command. The Great Commission is all about a way of life.
Around the holiday season, we have Christians who wish to not offend anyone and to include all people, and so they say “Happy Holidays.” There are also those people who simply say “Merry Christmas,” whether they are believers or not. Then there are the others, the Christians who hear someone say “Happy Holidays” and feel this great need to “correct” the person. I’ve seen people tell a person they were “doing it wrong.” When I hear this, I think the person talking needs to consider that quite possibly they are “doing it wrong.” It is important to remember that Jesus wants us to share the Gospel, not shove it down someone’s throat. Jesus wants us to show love, not to put ourselves on a pedestal. Remember, we all fall short.
This holiday season, I hope you remember the importance of taking Jesus with you, and that it continues on throughout the new year to come. I also pray that you remember the importance of the 3 A’s.
Approach with care. Put yourself in the position of others. Remember that we are all unique. Do not try to force someone to see things your way. Jesus never forced someone to believe in Him and we can’t either. (1 Corinthians 9:22)
Absolute truth. Do not attempt to change the Word. Stand firm in your faith. It is okay to accept others, but it is not okay to try to tweak the Gospel. You can change your methods and your approach, but the Truth never changes. (Romans 1:18-25)
Always show love. God is love. If you are truly representing God, you are showing love. If you are not showing love, rethink your motives because if love isn’t present, God is not in it. (1 John 4:8)
Recommended Further Reading: Romans 12