The Best Presents!

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I recently had an interesting experience in the food store. As the packing lady finished storing the groceries in my three bags, she handed them to me. I asked if she was going to take them to the car, but she murmured under her breath and looked ahead to the next customer. I was taken aback.

I really could have used the help as one bag was heavy with meat for my mother. I could be wrong, but perhaps with only three bags, she figured she would not have gotten a big enough tip. I don’t know.

I am a stickler for good customer service and I expect it even from the packing lady at the store. She shrugged me off. Further, I noticed she didn’t budge from the packing area; hence, preventing the next in line a chance to pack and gain a tip. As I exited the store with my three bags, I stopped to the first packer waiting on the line and gave her the tip I had for my packer.



Do you see how easy it is to despise something that was meant to be a blessing? Sometimes that increase is too small or perhaps that position too lowly. Maybe the present you received was seemingly too cheap. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus...”

After that experience, I thought of how a packer at another store reacted totally differently a few months earlier. As this student from A. F. Adderley was packing my bag, I was honest and told him I had no cash on me, so I would take my bags to the vehicle. This time, it was no three bags; it was a full trolley.

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He humbly said it was okay and he would still take my groceries to the vehicle. I was impressed with this young man. He knew upfront he wasn’t getting a dime AND after not getting a dime, he would have to go to the back of the packers’ line.

I took the opportunity to express my gratitude and briefly encouraged him in the Lord. I promised him I would be back to give him a tip at some point.

Within two or three weeks, I returned to the store solely for that purpose. I met him on the line chatting with his peers. I asked if he remembered me. He said yes, with big wide, almost-smiling eyes. I escorted him off the line and pulled out a card from my bag which had a handwritten note of encouragement. Inside, I had slipped a handsome sum of money – way more than I believe the average packer receives for a tip.

The young man received a gift for doing for me when he knew he would get nothing in return, whereas the lady seemed to reject assisting possibly because the reward might not have been big enough.

Some of the best presents come in unassuming packages.

I understand packers make no salary, but attitude makes a huge difference. Let us be careful how we handle situations. Remember: The best presents aren’t always in the glittering or biggest packages!

Growing in Christ,
Hadassah

Behind the Mask

IMG-20200613-WA0020Photo: Getty Images

 

Honestly, there is a part of me which likes being behind the masks we have to wear these days – unfortunately due to COVID-19. I honestly feel incognito.

In fact, one day, I had on my mask, shades and a wig (the latter because my natural hair is a mess!). I rarely use the shades, but the mask helps to shield my identity – to some extent. Between that wig with bangs over my forehead AND a mask, I go about often without revealing who I am.

Yesterday, I thought of how spiritually, many people are hiding behind masks. Their true identities are not known. A person can be in the choir, an usher, a deacon, pastor, the praying old lady who sits in the same spot every week, a stalwart member of the church or a babe in Christ who sits in the back pew – it does not matter. God has called us to be honest people. We shouldn’t be “holy-art-thou” when we walk into the church building with the loudest praise and the scripture-laced prayers, but cheating on our spouses, lying to a Customs Officer when it’s time to declare what we are bringing into the country or calling in sick when we are not.

IMG-20200613-WA0021Photo: World Vision

 

“For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. ” ~ Ecclesiastes 12:14.

God is not impressed with the outward appearance. We can only hide or fake our ways through for so long. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). We are expected to be the same person outside the church service or prayer meeting as we are when we go to those walls. After all, the church is not the building – it’s the people. Our lives are sermons everyday.

“…walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” ~ Ephesians 4:1

Growing in Christ,                                   

Hadassah

Should I Blame COVID19?

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I have a confession. I ate a family size box of Fruit Loops over a three-day period – by myself!

Terrible! I know!

I must say, I have not exercised self control as I sit under this curfew due to COVID19 – the pandemic which has nearly brought the world to its knees. This Fruit Loops snack attack is not good for my health (loads of sugar) nor for my waistline (I hope I can fit in my clothes when it’s time to return to work)!

I also recognize the reason I kept going back to what really amounts to empty calories, was because I wasn’t full, but also because sugar is addictive.

It made me think: What else in your life amounts to empty calories?

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At this moment, everyone simply wants the basic necessities of life, chiefly, food and water. Who cares about missing a New York & Co spring sale? Who cares about paying $80 for a makeover, when that could go towards grocery?  And is that planned trip to Disney more important than keeping a roof over your family’s head when both parents have been laid off? The $200 you might have been saving for dinner with a friend, now needs to help your grammy stock up in these uncertain times.

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The trappings of this life perhaps matter less to you by now. You may now realize that a lot of things we do are not necessary. They’re luxuries. I’m not saying don’t treat yourself. Don’t get me wrong. But in the grand scheme of things, if COVID19 hasn’t opened your eyes to the fragility of life and how it can be toppled over with little or no notice, I pray the scales be removed really soon.

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Today, I hope you are a bit more thankful for the things which matter. Interacting with the talkative old lady in the pew behind you. Sharing a meal with a colleague. That hug from your gregarious nephew. Let’s thank God for the little things – the things often taken for granted!

May this lockdown be a time of reflection. And when it is over, may we emerge as a more loving, thoughtful, compassionate people.

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

 

COVID-19: God is STILL in Control!

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In my lifetime, I cannot think of any other thing which has caught the world’s attention like COVID-19 (coronavirus). This virus almost has a personality of its own. It slithers its way into airports and palaces, hopping onto buses and trains, waits in line at the mom and pop store on the corner, flys to every continent – except Antarctica – and makes its way into homes, from celebrities to the common man.

It seems to have one mission: Steal. Kill. Destroy.

In fact, today, I visited the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website and saw the figure. An astonishing 23,495. That’s how many confirmed deaths from the coronavirus were recorded after 5 pm. At that hour, there was an overall 512,701 confirmed cases. From actor Tom Hanks and athletes to the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and Britain’s Prince Charles, this virus does not discriminate. Nationality, gender, colour, social standing, education…none of this matters to the coronavirus.

More than ever before, people are exercising cleanliness. And I believe using hand sanitizer, washing our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and infusing the atmosphere with Lysol are so embedded in our psyches that long after we have seen the coniving back of the coronavirus, many will still be exercising caution.

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I can’t help but think though that the God whom we serve is BIGGER than COVID-19. We are reminded in Psalm 46:1 that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

And certainly these are times of concern. I won’t attempt to downplay that fact, as so many people are affected in many ways. In fact, someone recently said on social media, “Can we start 2020 over?”

This pandemic though is cause for us to pause and think of how unpredictable life is. When the ball dropped in Times Square on January 1st and fireworks lit up the skyline over a river in Frankfurt, Germany…when we were sending “Happy New Year” greetings via WhatsApp, who really was thinking about COVID-19? Who thought nations’ health care personnel and resources would be so stretched? Who dreamed we would be standing six feet apart in line at the grocery store and not be able to hug a friend or relative? It is proof that in one year, one month, one week, one day, one hour…within one minute or even the next second, life could take an unexpected, unpredictable, unprecedented turn that’s unpleasant.

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But through it all, God is still in control. Psalm 107:29 says, “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” He is the SAME God and through all of the panic, uncertainty and mounting deaths, he is saying to you…to me, the same three words recorded in Mark 9:39 – “Peace be still.”

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah