Pay at the pump. A feature we’ve all grown accustomed to over time. Earlier this week, I hurriedly stopped to fill up with gas. I hopped out and swiped my card, hoping the pump was a good one. (Isn’t it frustrating when the pumps feel like they’re using an eyedropper to fill your tank?!) Things were moving along well and I was almost set to resume my rushed drive until that familiar “Do you want a receipt?” popped up.
I pushed “Yes” and you can guess what happened next. Yep. The dreaded “Your cashier has your receipt” flashed across the display. Seriously? In this COVID, touchless, socially distant world, that should be illegal! Ugh. I dug out a mask from my middle console and headed inside to get my receipt.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never walked into a fresh-smelling gas station. I’m almost convinced there must be a universally approved scent that they pump (no pun intended) into all gas stations. I don’t mind the smell of gas, but the convenience stores typically trigger my gag reflex. Perhaps Bath & Body Works has a line of plug-in “fresheners” that all gas stations covertly order and agree to use?! 🤔
I walked in and waited 12 feet from the counter. You guessed it: I’m second in line. But as I got done grumbling at my misfortune at having to enter this building, I noticed a bright light from behind the counter. She was about 5ft 6in and had a contagious smile on her face. As she caught my eye, I noticed that she was happily bopping to the beat of the music playing in the background.
She was such a contrast to my grumbling spirit that I couldn’t help but realize how I’d missed the mark. I have a car and money for gas. I have food to eat and a family I love. I have a Heavenly Father who never leaves me and has sustained me every day of my life. My guess is that I’ve had a much easier journey than the young woman behind the counter. She literally helped shift my mood.
What does this have to do with you and me?
If you consider yourself a follower of Christ, it doesn’t mean life is easy or free from COVID or any other challenges. It does mean that we have a hope and an eternal perspective that should cause us to be full of peace and joy, even in tough circumstances. We must acknowledge the hard. Plastic Christianity, where we act like hard doesn’t exist, isn’t bringing anyone to Jesus. But… we can lift up our burdens and we don’t have to carry them. Peace is possible.
I was convicted.
I was acting like my day – and my life – was one huge burden.
I was also encouraged.
Her joy helped me. My joy can help others. And so can yours.
I told my friend who was with me that I was so glad I had to go into that gas station. (I’ve never said that before!) I pray that I’ll find sincere joy and gratitude so that it radiates from me. We could actually change our cities if joy was what people saw when they encountered us.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.