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What's On God's List?

Kathleen Kohler

I hurried through the crowded grocery store. Exhausted from my long day of errands, this was my final stop. I tossed the mocha almond fudge ice cream into the cart and checked it off my list. I searched the front of the store, then squeezed in to the shortest of the mile-long checkout lines.

Why don't they have more people working? I grumbled to myself. Why didn't the lady at the register have her coupons ready? Can't this clerk move any faster; she's like watching a replay clip in slow motion? I just wanted to get home.

I piled my mountain of groceries on the counter and waited. My turn at the register finally came. The young woman at the check stand didn't acknowledge me as she scanned each purchase and dropped it into a bag. Though I was in no mood for conversation, I felt the Lord nudge me. I knew he wanted me to ask the checker how she was doing. Distracted by my to-do list, I hadn't considered that God had something important of His own to add to today's schedule.

"How's your day going?" I said, but in my heart I wasn't interested.

"Fine," she mumbled without looking up.

"You don't sound very convincing," I added. Though I wanted to follow the Lord's prodding, I didn't want to take time from my own agenda to listen to her.

She lifted her head and looked me in the face. When our eyes met, she crumbled into tears. "I just broke up with my boyfriend." She sobbed, and fumbled in her apron for a Kleenex but couldn't find one.

"Here," I said and handed her a fresh tissue from my purse.

Time To Listen

I gave a quick glance to the three people who stood behind me, anxious for their turn at the register. When I looked back at the clerk, who dabbed streaks of mascara from her wet cheeks, I realized it was no accident I ended up in her life. By the Father's grand design and purpose even the smallest events in our lives happen for a reason.

While she bagged the produce, she shared details with me of their tumultuous three-year relationship. By the time she finished her story, compassion had melted away my self-centered attitude.

"I think you made the right decision," I said. "But I know that doesn't mean it doesn't still hurt." I noted her name tag and said, "I'll pray for you, Jessica."

When I handed her the money to pay for my groceries, she reached out and grabbed hold of my hand with a grip that didn't want to let go. I could see in her face her whole mood had brightened as she said, "Thank you, thank you for caring."

A deep satisfaction warmed my heart as I pushed my cart full of groceries from the store. I'm grateful I didn't miss an opportunity to show the Father's love and help ease another's heavy weight. Now, no matter where I find myself, I try to stay in tune with what's on God's list of priorities - people!

© 2011 Kathleen Kohler