Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Go Ye Into the Walmart

You are my witnesses, says the Lord. Isaiah 43:10

Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
Mark 16:15

When I first began paying attention to God’s call for me, I had some conditions for God. I outlined my stipulations in prayers that went something like: “Okay. I’ll serve you, God. But don’t expect me to just pack my bags and jump on a plane to Africa or Asia. THAT is not my deal.” I’m sure God had a good chuckle when I put my contractual requirements on the table.

But while God has not put it before me to go any of the places I once argued against, that doesn’t mean God has not sent me into the world, into places where Good News needs to be delivered. God asks, “You don’t want to visit magnificent, exotic lands? Fine, I’ll send you into Walmart.”

That’s right. Walmart.

Have you ever shopped in a big box discount store when you HAVEN’T encountered someone in need of compassion or assistance or just plain human kindness? It seems as though there is always someone in a motorized scooter who cannot reach the Honey Bunches of Oats on the top shelf. There is always a frazzled mom trying to manage too many toddlers through a potty expedition. There is always a checkout cashier on the verge of a nervous breakdown. There is always an irate driver in the parking lot fuming because someone let an empty shopping cart roam freely.

Too often I’ve found myself in too much of a hurry or a huff to be especially compassionate or helpful or kind. Sometimes, though, I get it right. I remember what it means to “Go into the Walmart and proclaim the Good News. . . .” I remember to engage people in mindful ways, saying, “May I reach that item for you,” or “How about if I hold the diaper bag while you help the kids wash their hands?” Maybe I empathize with the clerk for a moment, maybe I round up a couple of loose carts in the parking lot while smiling an enormous smile to the sourpuss in the SUV. They may be small gestures, but they have the capacity to be good news for the person who is just looking for a break.

Go into the world and be faithful to your calling, even if that world is just around the corner.


  1. Went today - gonna go again tomorrow... thanks for the urging to "be good news!"

  2. Amen to that one. Sometimes being a silent witness is the best form of evangelism. I've tended to be the giver, and I am shocked when it is my turn to be the receiver. Freely have we been given, freely shall we also give out of the first fruits of our labors.