I just needed salt.
I was baking, and out of salt. So, I ran to the store to just buy salt. This is very unlike me. I normally will go without. I’d rather peel a teaspoon of salt off of saltine crackers to use than go to the grocery store for one item. But, this time I went.
And I failed.
I picked up my salt (plus a few other items, so my trip would not be in vain). And stood in line. A woman in front of me, with a banana, a tomato, bread and a bag of rice stood in front of me, counting quarters out of a ziploc bag to pay for her groceries. She was on the cell phone, while counting, so she told me to go ahead in front of her while she finished her conversation.
So I put my milk, chocolate milk, cream cheese, bread and salt on the belt and watch her count as the cashier rang me up. She had enough to pay…but I was so burdened for her, watching her count her nickels, while I pulled out my slick, shiny new American Express credit card to pay for $16 worth of groceries, that I’ll use within a few days, not thinking of what others are going without.
And, her groceries sat at the end of the belt, immediately next to the scanner. All I had to do was say “can you put her 4 items on my receipt?” and I could have paid for her probably $6 worth of groceries, saving her those few precious nickels for something else.
But I didn’t. I failed. I swiped my card, gathered my bag and left. And was immediately hit with a wave of conviction, burden and sorrow for my own failure. Why didn’t I reach out? I was afraid it would offend her, or cause a scene, or what? That I couldn’t afford $6, when I’m going to eat probably a $50 meal tonight?
I cried on the way to the car. I watched her walk out of the store to make sure she was able to buy the food, and then I left. All I could do was say a prayer for God to watch over her, and to give me more opportunities to reach out and bless someone. Not to make myself feel better, but to give them a moment of peace from something they are struggling with. I felt like an utter failure.
We all struggle. Even Jason and I count every cent, making sure we save and spend correctly, but we are blessed beyond measure. I can afford an American Express, AND two MasterCards AND put money in savings every month AND afford vacations AND new clothes every few weeks.
I prayed for forgiveness, but prayed harder for more opportunities to show God’s love, even in the grocery store. Because as we know:
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16
All I needed was salt, but I got more. And for that reminder, I am thankful.