| Arkansas Baptist State Convention
Posted on Friday, October 17, 2008
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Granny Grouch was at the counter. I didn’t much care, I only wanted my pizza and Pepsi and I’d get out of her way. The mall food court was the only place I felt like eating after a long day and I just wanted to get my food, eat it, and go watch the LSU football game in the hotel room. The elderly lady working at the pizza joint acted like my order was an imposition. One word, gruff answers, refusing to make eye contact, heavy sighs, all communicated “go away”. Granny Grouch.
I stood there tolerating it, when an African-American teenage girl came to the counter. “How much for a refill on my Pepsi?” she asked, holding out a beat-up Pepsi cup. “Free”, growled GG from behind the counter. “Oh, thank you” said the teenager, “you are the nicest lady in this mall”. Granny Grouch suddenly melted. “Aren’t you nice”, she responded, “This old cup is all beat up, let me get you a fresh one”. You could literally see the change. Then the elderly pizza lady and the teenage girl chatted about how busy their days had been, and the young lady went off drinking a free Pepsi.
I have heard a lot of good sermons. I know some “big name” preachers. But I have never seen more effective encouragement than the African-American teenager offered to the elderly lady working the pizza counter. I don’t know the spiritual condition of either person, but I know encouragement when I see it.
The teenage girl could tell that the lady waiting on her was grouchy, just as surely as I could tell it. But she chose to encourage the lady. Scripture tells us to encourage one another. Too often we respond to folks “in kind”, or we do as I was doing—noticing the surliness and feeling spiritually superior because I could recognize it. If I really wanted to be spiritual, I might have even prayed for her. But the younger lady did something. She applied Hebrews 3:13: “encourage one another”….
Don’t settle for feeling spiritual, instead, behave biblically. Encourage one another.
(From Dr. Emil Turner's blog at www.absc.org)