I made a quick stop to the grocery store to pick up a few things; you know the kind where you have to bring your own bags in? After I selected my items, went through the check out line, and made my way to my car, I noticed a lady in the parking lot struggling to corral all of her groceries. She didn’t have any bags, so everything was just scattered in her cart as she tried to gather them up to put them in her trunk. I thought to myself, “Those items are going to fly everywhere in her car!” Moved with compassion and concern, I went to my car, grabbed a few of my reusable bags and walked over and handed it to this lady. With a confused look on her face, she simply and calmly said, “Oh, thanks.”
You have to understand that even though my initial point of action was to help someone else out and solve what I viewed as a problem, which I did, her reaction made me slightly bothered. After all, I certainly didn’t have to interrupt my day to walk over and give her my personal shopping bags, but since I did, I thought a little bit of overwhelming gratitude was in order. In my mind, I totally just saved the day. I’m a hero for crying out loud and all she had to say was a lackluster, “Oh, thanks.” (I’m cracking up with laughter as I write this by the way) However, I realized something and began a conversation with myself:
Why did you give the lady the bags? I did it so that she could put her groceries in them.
Did that happen? Yes, it did, she had bags to put her groceries in.
If that’s the case, and the problem was solved, why are you bothered?
This my friends was the moment when I could see that my motives were a bit off. When the idea popped in my head, I was feeling good about myself. I am, after all, about to go and make somebody’s day by being a generous and giving person. When she didn’t respond the way I thought she should, I wanted to take it all back. She should appreciate what I did for her. But the truth of the matter is if I were really a giving person with the right motives behind my gift, I wouldn’t concern myself with her response. I saw a need, and I was moved to meet it, end of story.
The other reality that hit me was that I have no idea what that stranger was going through. Maybe she lived a life where no one has ever been kind to her without expecting something in return. Perhaps she’s struggling and asked God to show His love for her in some small way. I will never know, and it’s not my job to know. My job is to be kind, generous, and a representative of the love of Jesus Christ everywhere I go and in everything I do. The only reason I was able to give to her was because God had blessed me in such a way by giving to me. The impact and the glory is His not mine, and regardless of her I know that He sees and He will take on the responsibility of the reward.
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