Bigger Picture Moments

Who else is competitive by nature? Anyone? Besides me?

I compete all the time…and it’s especially apparent at the grocery store.

  • to get a great parking spot
  • save money
  • collect all my items quickly
  • expedite my checkout

And I go to great lengths to win this private competition!

My meal plans are based on the weekly store sales advertisement. I prepare my shopping list according to the product layout at the store. I hum along, zipping my cart around old men and new moms like a race car driver. And at the checkout, I scan the lanes for cashiers I know who are fast and who will pack my groceries like an engineer. When I find a promising line, I look to see who’s ahead of me. Based on their technique of unloading their cart, I determine if they are proficient or novices before getting behind them.


Prompts from God

It never fails, though, that when I go into competitive mode, God steers me back toward compassion.

  • When the deli counter clerk is serving number 12, I get number 2078 so I can chat with fellow shoppers.
  • I’m forced to smile warmly at the lady blocking my aisle as she deliberates slowly between Metamucil and Benefiber.
  • God prompts me to compliment frazzled employees and engage in conversation with friendly workers.

Though at first I didn’t appreciate His interventions, the investment in compassion has become its own reward.

I experience a fellow human’s smile. I watch the face of a dejected employee light up. I make the day of a lonely fellow customer. And with a kind word, I witness the change in attitude of a cross worker.


The Bigger Picture

Compassion for others is God’s golden opportunity for you and me…

  • To make someone’s day.
  • To bring value to someone’s life with a word or a smile.
  • To say to a fellow human, “You matter.”

And recently, God rewarded me with a gesture of compassion, or “favorball,” as we call it at our house.

After years of idle conversation, random smiles, and patiently waiting my turn in line, I found myself late for an appointment and fifth in line at the checkout, behind fully-loaded carts belonging to customers who had obviously not been in a grocery store since the digital age began.

When I felt my irritation rise, I took a deep breath and exhaled a private prayer:

God, let me be a representation of you to the world waiting to know you.

Just as I finished, I felt a tap on my shoulder.

One of the favorite cashiers was calling me to an open lane. I sailed through her lane and made it to my appointment with time to spare.

No competition.

God’s way every time.

Win, Win.


The next time you find yourself feeling less than compassionate, take a moment to consider the bigger, more important, picture of what God wants you to be to a world who needs to know Jesus.


What “big picture” moment have you had lately? I’d love to hear about it.


“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” —Matthew 5:16


God, let me find the reserve in You to be who YOU would be in every situation. Amen.

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