A woman had been standing in a long line at a busy grocery store. An over-worked cashier rushed in to open another check-out line and totally overlooked this woman, but instead pointed to another customer who had just walked up and said,”Sir, if you’ll come over here I’ll check your groceries for you.” How did the first woman respond? She simply shrugged her shoulders and continued to wait. She was gracious.
My husband, a huge fan of keeping up with the news, went out early several days in a row to find NO PAPER in the newspaper box. He wasn’t too happy, so what did he do? He called the office to calmly explain he wasn’t receiving a paper. He learned that a new carrier was now delivering to our house. She said,
“Sorry this has been a problem! You’re a paying customer and you deserve to get a paper.” “Oh, it’s totally fine.”He responded, “The truth is, I don’t deserve anything but hell. It’s all of God’s grace and it’s totally fine.” What kind of response was that? Gracious.
A teacher at church was in a hurry to get things prepared for her Wednesday night class. In the last precious moments, a child came skipping into the room to give her a hug and “chat.” The teacher stopped, as though she had all the time in the world and gave that child her complete attention. How very gracious she was!
Graciousness is a trait that seems to be slipping by the wayside. It seems everywhere we see people that are demanding their “rights.” Here’s what it means to be gracious –
It’s times that you can’t really can’t prepare for that require us to show graciousness. You cannot anticipate the situation, but it requires a pleasantly kind response. If you can’t prepare for it, how can you be sure you’ll respond in a gracious manner? You realize and understand every day that you don’t deserve anything. Our society shouts otherwise, but it’s not true. Because we’re all sinners, our sin deserves hell, but Christ paid the penalty, and it’s by His grace that when we trust in Him, we are saved from eternity without Him! We’re promised heaven and a relationship with the God of the universe! That salvation, and everything after that is an unbelievable gift of His grace. As we walk under the control of the Holy Spirit, we can be gracious, as we witness in the life of Christ at every moment of His life, and even in His death.
I wonder if it would even be helpful for us to look at that situation that we think should have had a different outcome, and mentally, and maybe even verbally, say,
I don’t deserve ____________!
(the next place in line, a newspaper, time alone…)
Graciousness is developed with a keen sense of gratitude for what we do have.
You and I can respond graciously even at times like these…
- At a restaurant, even though my steak wasn’t cooked exactly the way I wanted. Respond graciously
- Another birthday, even though no one remembered to send a card. Respond graciously
- A few minutes in a hot bath, even though a child is knocking on the door the entire time. Respond graciously
- A trip,
- a cup of coffee,
- a spouse,
- a child,
- a computer,
- a bag of groceries,
- a day of vacation,
- a home,
- a dishwasher,
- a job,
- a friend,
- a church…
you add the “even though’s” and then add “respond graciously.”
Let’s live a gracious life – one that realizes that everything we have, are, enjoy, get to do or experience, are all grace gifts that are going to be touched with something that will require us to respond with a kind, courteous spirit. You’ll be a blessing to be near, just like my examples above.
Have you witnessed graciousness? I’d love to hear about it! And if you leave a response, I’ll promise to respond graciously. =)