I have often ruminated on the question of how I can make a difference in the world. I don’t feel very significant in the larger scheme of things. Recently, however, I began to notice that in everything we do, and everywhere we go, we have opportunity to impact the lives of those around us. Now, I’m not talking about traveling outside my country or even my state necessarily, although some of us are fortunate enough to do that with regularity. No, I’m talking about going to the grocery store or any other place that our “dailies” take us.
Wherever we go we bump into others. We can make those encounters count for the Kingdom and quite possibly make a difference. Let me flesh this out a bit for you. Let’s start at the grocery store. Most of us go there at least occasionally, so it likely applies to all of us. There are obvious things we can do to touch people’s lives; you are already familiar with the nicety of letting someone in line behind you, go ahead of you. We’ve all done it or at least been the recipient of such an act of kindness. But what about returning the cart all the way to the store front? Or using your paper towel, to give a quick wipe of the counter in the restroom so the next person doesn’t get the front of their shirt wet?
As for the cart return, yes I know, someone gets paid to do that. If you consider what would happen if EVERYONE returned their cart, or if NOBODY did, what a difference it would make to even one person.
I am inspired by the experience of my daughter on this practice. For several years we lived in Northern Colorado where there was snow on the ground for sometimes nine months of the year. My daughter was on cart return duty regardless of the weather. Pulling on a heavy jacket to go outside she would wrestle those carts on the icy pavement at least once every hour. If it was sunny the biggest burden was maneuvering their weight while the “awkwardly spinning” wheels attempted to change her course. But if it was raining, snowing, or icy, it was an entirely different story.
It might not seem like much, but I can tell you that the people that she remembers fondly are those who went out of their way to decrease her load. They made an impact on her life just going about their “dailies,” as they bumped into hers.
There are many times when we bump into people and they aren’t aware. But quite possibly it could change the course of their day. Perhaps they are running late for work, or have a crying baby with them. As we bump into them and smile, or allow them to go first in the checkout line, they are touched in a positive way. Those things, whether great or small are seen by God and they do make a difference.
Today my challenge to you is to watch for ways to make every bump count, because relationships matter.