Scripture: Matthew 19:15 CEB “Then he blessed the children and went away from there.” There is a new store in our area that opened a few weeks ago. They are still working out the kinks of a new store with new employees. This was evident on a recent visit when nothing seemed to go smoothly with our visit. It took a very long time to put together an order at the deli. Employees seemed to not be very well trained on how to accomplish the task which they were charged with completing. Coworkers were consulting each other and no one seemed to have the answer. The checkout lines were long and seemed to not move at all. We moved over to the express lane, which was truly false advertising, only to wait some more. At one point I looked over at Debbie and we just had to laugh, it was becoming quite comical. We ended up waiting for quite a bit longer before the checkout process was complete and we were on our way. Honestly, I anticipated a quick visit to this store for some lunch and it ended up being an unfortunate adventure. One thing did happen that made me think. While we were waiting at the register to check out, an employee ahead of us in line was buying her lunch. Evidently, employees get a discount on their purchase. To receive the discount, the cashier had to call for a “Code 1.” I quickly learned that a Code 1 referred to a manager’s approval. So, the manager came over and entered the code and the employee paid and was on her way. However, the manager then took the opportunity to perform a price check on several items she had brought with her. This took several minutes while a large number of us waited in line. When the manager had finished, the cashier called for the next person. Debbie happened to be next and as she walked up I jokingly said, “Try not to be a Code 1!” The cashier started laughing and said that was the funniest thing she had heard that day. Then she said, “I needed that laugh! That just blessed me! Thank you.” It was a silly statement, but it had a great result. The moment represented in today’s Scripture verse was an unplanned moment. Jesus was traveling through the area of Judea teaching and healing. As he made his way through town some parents brought their kids to Jesus to be blessed. You probably know that his disciples tried to stop them. Jesus tells them to let the kids come to him because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like them. It says that, “Then he blessed the children and went away from there.” How long could it have taken him to stop and bless the children? It was literally a few minutes out of his day. Yet, it was something that would make someone else’s whole day. Jesus had many, many of those moments in his ministry. Jesus would take time to make sure someone else was blessed. It didn’t matter whether it was a parent bringing their child, a woman touching his hem, a man calling out his name, a tax collector climbing a tree, or the request of a criminal from a cross. Jesus made sure people were blessed. Who will be blessed because they interacted with you today? You don’t have to share your whole faith story with them, unless that is what God is leading you to do. Today start with offering love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I shared the story above not out of pride, rather I was so humbled that something as silly as my comment could be a blessing. When we offer people the fruit of the spirit, especially when they might be expecting the opposite, they are blessed. Seek out those opportunities to make sure people are blessed by your interactions with them. Be loving, joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and in control of yourself. In the times we live in I guarantee that people will notice. I also guarantee they will be blessed. Prayer: Gracious God, you have shown your abundant grace to me over and over and over and over again. When I least deserve it, you continue to offer your amazing grace. While I was still a sinner you gave yourself for me. I know this shows just how much you love me. Empower me and lead me through your Holy Spirit to bless others today. Make me an instrument of your love and peace today. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
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