Sunday, November 2, 2008

Are you the Best?

I've started frequenting the grocery store chain that I love, at a new location. It's on my way home from work and therefore more convenient for me. It's not the big "ta-dah" version I am used to but it will suffice since it carries everything I typically need anyway.

Last week, I decided to do my weekly shopping for groceries at this location as opposed to the one I normally go to for this trip. I took my time going up and down the aisles, (something most people hate doing but I somehow find therapuetic), familiarizing myself with where everything could be found. When I was done, being that it was in the evening after work, I started to prepare myself for the long cashier line in which I was destined to wait.

I began making my way through the crowded paths, looking up all the while to make sure I didn't end up in one of those "15 or less" aisles. No matter how cute I tried to be or pathetic I tried to look, that just wouldn't fly with my basket heavily ladden down with provisions for the following week.

However, to my surprise, every register except one was open and many of them were manned by managers! I was shocked! I could get in any line I wanted because all were moving quickly. Never in my life had I seen so many registers open at once. Even more shocking was the number of managers, checking, sacking and filling carts. Had I just walked into the Twilight Zone? They were moving people out of there so fast that I started scrambling for my store card, my wallet and even my keys, so that in case they rushed me by too fast, I would at least be ready to load up my car once my head cleared from the daze.

The look must've shown on my face. In fact, I know it did because I was so floored by this phenomenon that I commented on it to the manager that was checking me out. When I did, she said, "I wondered why you were looking around like that." I made sure she knew that I thought this was a good thing and that they were now my new favorite location. Really, I just wanted to make sure that I would receive this kind of service all the time. :0

The manager said that they all felt it was their job to keep the store running smoothly and that they realized we all just wanted to do our shopping and get home. How right she was, but few in her position care enough to do anything about it. She also said something else that kept me pondering all the way home. "We don't mind doing whatever it takes to help out."

I looked at her and said, "That's why ya'll are the best and why I will be shopping here more often."

As I drove home. I thought to myself, what if we all did our very best everyday? What if we tried harder, gave a bit more, made a bit more effort than the day before? What if instead of saying or in most of our cases thinking, "That's not my job," we thought, "Sure. I'll help with that!" What if we went beyond the norm everyday?

A friend and I were talking the other day about my current job and why she thinks I'm there. I was relaying a rather frustrating story to her about one of my clients. I had worked very hard on obtainging some special assistance for this elderly lady. It was a big thing we were doing for her and I was so happy to be the one to tell her what we would be providing for on her behalf. I had gone beyond what was required of me to make this happen for this individual. I was so excited, only to watch most of this tremendous blessing crumble before my eyes, because once I did my part it was out of my hands and into another's who didn't care as much or perhaps like their job enough to see to it that this request be honored in a timely fashion. What if we all cared as much as we could each day?

I have another client who needed some major help as well. I had also been working on this case for several weeks. This time, the client herself was holding me back from completing her request by not giving me everything I needed. I stayed on top of the situation, constantly calling to check and see if she had everything. No longer wanting to delay the provision she needed, I went to her home to retrieve the last and final paperwork needed to complete her request. I could have waited until she compiled everything herself or simply just let her follow up with me once she had all she needed. When I called her last week to tell her that her request had been approved, she screamed so loudly into the phone that I nearly dropped the receiver. What if we each went the extra mile everyday?

I didn't tell you why my friend thinks I'm in this particular position. She says it's to leave things better in my wake, for the next person who will follow behind me. I agree. I'm not trying to toot my own horn. In fact, because of how much work I have to do, I have been strangely impressed upon to make my work count. At times when I've wanted to take shortcuts that would get the job done but cause my work to be less than perfect, I've felt the gentle nudging of the Spirit encouraging me to go all the way, and not stop short. I want the work I do to be so precise and so excellent that the next person will have to work harder than they ever did before to equal my results. At times I may feel as though I am cleaning up the mess passed down to me, but in reality, what I am really doing is raising up a standard of excellence through the tasks set before me. What if we each did more than we thought we could everyday?

You are the best you there is. Can you imagine you, only better? Just what would that look like? Don't imagine it. Be it! Give yourself fully to the tasks at hand.

2 Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.