I was at the grocery store recently, with my cart piled high with food for Christmas, and the woman behind me couldn’t stop complaining. “Is this line ever going to move?” she grumbled, ignoring the toothy grin of baby b. in the cart ahead of her. “Any day now!” she called out, loud enough for all around to hear.
I wanted to say something.
The World Health Organization estimates that one in twelve people in the world are malnourished, including 160 million children under the age of five.
I don’t bring this up to be a downer or put a guilt trip on the well-fed of the world. I bring it up because many of us need to be reminded that waiting in line to buy groceries is a blessing. I don’t like shopping either, and I don’t know anyone who likes to wait, but seriously, folks––in a world where 160 million little kids are hungry, what does God think of our grocery store line complaints?
We were at Old Navy a few months ago, buying new winter gear for our three boys. Nothing fancy, just warm coats and hats and gloves, a few pairs of blue jeans, a couple of sweatshirts. I don’t mind buying these things; on the contrary, I enjoy buying my children the things they need.
On the way out, the noisy boys asked for a new ball. “No, guys, not today,” I told them, “we have plenty of balls.”
“You never buy us anything!” Twin B. stomped.
“Yeah,” Twin A. joined in. “You never buy us anything!”
Um. Excuse me? I just spent some $287 on little boy coats and gloves and jeans. And I was happy to do it. But the ungratefulness in the hearts of my boys disturbed me.
“Be grateful,” I told them, “that we can walk into a store and buy the things we need.”
I imagine that God is happy to give us the things we need.
In this season of abundance, let’s not forget to say thank you. Even if we have to wait in a long line.