Today I had two encounters at the grocery store and I want to share them with you. Both situations reveal how people respond to kindness and love. It breaks my heart and makes me hungry to always allow Jesus’ Love to be the love in and through me. Why? Because I know that my love is sourced in self and ultimately will always be selfish no matter how good or pure it may appear. I have learned that self can do nothing but serve self. All the while, Jesus IS Love – the only Love and truly Love. Here’s the fact: all we need is Love!
Round One: All We Need is Love
My first encounter took place in the refrigerated section. I needed some grapefruit juice from the top shelf and a man in a wheelchair was parked in front of my brand listening to his cell phone. I didn’t want to bother him nor did I wish to startle him, so I gently placed a hand on his shoulder and smiled as I began to reach. He immediately spun his head around with a huge smile and said enthusiastically, “Yes?” I just pointed to the grapefruit juice and continued to reach for it. He simply remained sweetly smiling while I retrieved my product.
As I continued to shop, I noticed him in several other places in the store. Each time I saw him, he began to beam. The thing that broke my heart is this man in the wheelchair came alive like the blossoming of a flower. Maybe he doesn’t get touched very often, or possibly the kindness I extended just felt good. But what I hope most is that he responded to Christ expressing Love through me. I don’t know. All I can say is this man became electrified by what I would call common courtesy.
Where’s The Love
A few years back shortly after I had a back injury, I had to go to a Christian booksellers convention. Because of my injury, I required a wheelchair, which Martha kindly pushed. I just couldn’t have managed walking on that hard concrete for two straight days without a serious setback and pain. The thing I witnessed at this Christian event is how a man in a wheelchair can be treated. Let me say horribly.
In my experience, I was like a leper. And if people weren’t outright avoiding me, then they were treating me as if I was a stupid toddler. The conversations were patronizing and extremely belittling, as if my IQ were as low as the chair I sat in. Somehow, someone who appeared handicapped had nothing to offer a Christian bookseller (hahaha). So I do understand how being seen and given a kind touch from a stranger might feel comforting, especially when you’re in a wheelchair. The fact remains: all we need is Love.
Let everything that you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:14 PHILLIPS
Round Two: All We Need is Love
The second encounter came from a man who works in the produce section of our grocery store. I see him most days I shop, and I always smile and initiate some sort of kindness. He always responds to my kindness but usually he waits for me to speak. I think he’s shy and I’m cool with being the initiator. But today was different. I haven’t seen him in a few weeks and he came running up as I was checking out, with the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on his face. I extended my hand and returned the smile and he joked while shaking my hand, “I see you’re buying, can I put in a few things?” Then, still grinning, he simply turned and walked away.
Was this a response to simple kindness, or have I let Love shine forth to touch this man? I pray the latter. I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is all we need is Love. And that Love sometimes comes through acts of kindness rather than words. Sure, I could’ve hopped on either or both of these men and told them about Jesus and His Love, but the Spirit in me chose rather to BE Love. Kindness was the delivery system for Love today.
Maybe tomorrow it will be words or prayers or miracles? It’s actually none of my business. As a disciple, I am called to do what I see the Father doing, as the Life of the Son expresses Himself through me. Jesus is Love and if I let Him be my Life, then Love will express itself through my life and doings. While I can’t define Love nor dictate how He will express it, I can let Him be Love in me.
For sure, all we need is Love!
By this we know we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments—whoever keeps His word, in Him truly the love of God is perfected—if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
(1 John 2:3, 5 & 4:11)
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