We’ve heard it so many times that we almost don’t notice it any more. The alert goes like this. “This has been a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test. Had it been a real emergency, you would have” …and so on. Frankly, I have grown somewhat dull to this announcement. It has been so routine for so long that I hardly stop to listen and consider it.
In a way, I’ve had a similar response to the test signals that occur in my life every day. Often, I don’t even notice when they happen and take advantage of them in order to complete the process described in II Corinthians 13:5. Such was the case yesterday at the grocery store.
I had collected my items and was in line waiting my turn to check out. As is my habit, I looked around to see if there was anyone with fewer items than me that I could invite to check out before me. Just a courtesy, I know, but it still tends to encourage others.
As I turned to look, I notice a young woman scurrying to a line next to me. She was in haste to get in line, hold onto her items and simultaneously retrieve her billfold as she ‘multi-tasked’ her way to the checkout counter. Amidst her frenzy, several folded bills, 2 $20s and a $5, fell to the ground as she worked her way into line.
Just two quick steps away, I picked up the money and called to her. “Ma’am”, I said. “You dropped this money.” Sheepishly she blushed, nervously reached for the money and thanked my twice. “Oh, thank you. Oh thank you”, she replied. With that, she turned back to her line, purchased her items and quietly left the store.
It was only after I paid for my items and left the store that I put the scripture to use. Sitting alone in the truck, I asked myself several questions and mentally charted my findings. First, did I have even a flicker of thought that ‘finders keepers, losers weepers’? The answer…NO, NOT EVEN THE SLIGHTEST THOUGHT. NEVER ENTERED MY MIND. Ok. That’s good. Second, did it occur to me that I could expect to be thanked? NO, NOT EVEN THE SLIGHEST THOUGHT. Actually, it was embarrassing to me as well as to her. Out of 100 people, 99 would have done what I did. No ‘thanks’ needed. Ok. That’s good. Third, and this was probably the most probing question, was I proud of myself for doing what most anyone would have done in my place? NO, NOT EVEN THE SLIGHTEST THOUGHT. NEVER ENTERED MY MIND. Ok. That’s good.
“So”, you ask. “What are you telling us this, if you weren’t proud of yourself?” For this one reason. In each day, hardly noticed at all, we face such circumstances that provide each of us with an opportunity to ‘test ourselves to see if we are in the faith’.
It is my hope that when these tests come in those unguarded moments, when what is in our hearts spurts out, that good will come out because of the good we are laying up in them. Matthew 12:35, Luke 6:45