Do I Treat God Like the Stein Mart Clerk Treated Me?

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

A few days ago I went into a local discount department store (Stein Mart for you shopping aficionados) to buy a birthday gift for a friend. The clerk behind the checkout counter was talking with another employee as I approached with my purchase.

I laid the scarf on the counter. The checkout clerk picked it up and scanned it but continued to talk to her associate. She did not say “hello” or “did you find everything alright.” In fact, she didn’t even look my way. She just continued her conversation with the other lady.

I couldn’t help but hear what they were talking about. It had something to do with another employee reporting the checkout clerk to the manager for some kind of unprofessional behavior. Hmm. I can’t imagine.

Well, she continued to ring up my purchase without looking at me or speaking to me. I saw the total pop-up on the register and handed her the money. She took it and gave me my change. Still, no word. The only acknowledgment from her that I had even been there was a tossed out “Thanks, have a nice day,” as I headed out the door.

I headed to my car sporting a rather indignant attitude. I couldn’t believe she would just totally ignore me. I wanted to report her to the manager. She went through the physical routine of her job but was never really “with” me.

That’s when God tapped me on the shoulder, like He often does, and said “You do that to Me all the time.” Huh?

It didn’t take me long to grasp what He meant. How often do I go through the motions of spending time with Him only to really be doing something else? I read my Bible. I pray through my list. But in many ways I’m already off in the middle of my day. I’m thinking about all the things I have to do. I’m planning next week’s meeting. I’m wondering what to fix for dinner.

Even when I do truly focus on Him, I hold something back. I don’t yield myself totally to His leadership in my life. I give Him part of me, but not all of me.

God deserves so much more than that from me. In fact, He deserves everything. First, He deserves all my worship. David expressed it this way:

I will extol You, my God and King, and bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145:1-3, ESV

I also owe my very life to God. I was lost, but now I’m found. I was dead in my sin, but now I am alive in Christ. Yes, I owe Him my life today and always.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

Update: After seeing this post, Stein Mart graciously contacted the author to apologize for its clerk’s behavior. Of course, the attitude of this one clerk is not typical of Stein Mart employees and the author still regularly shops at Stein Mart!

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Do I Treat God Like the Stein Mart Clerk Treated Me? @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: Find out more about how to treat others with grace in Kathy Howard’s Bible study Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing is her latest book. You can find out more about Kathy, her speaking and writing, and find free resources at www.KathyHoward.org.

Lavish Grace: is a unique, nine-week study of Paul’s teachings about grace and ways he experienced God’s grace in his life. Filled with contemporary examples of grace at work, this well-written format gives you the rare opportunity to combine a character and topical study into one rich, practical approach to Scripture. Lavish Grace is the eye-opening study you need to recognize how God’s grace is being poured out on you and through you. His grace will give you reason to rejoice every day.

Join the conversation: Have you ever been made to feel insignificant?

Love Notes from God

by Lori Altebaumer @Lori_Altebaumer

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

God wants us to pursue Him. He wants us to search for the evidence of His favor in the first light of dawn, in the dew on the grass and the web of the spider, in the taste of an apple, and the smell of honeysuckle on a warm evening breeze. And He promises us when we seek Him with our heart, we will find him.

Because God wants us to seek and pursue Him, He instilled in us the same desire to be sought after, to be pursued. Dare I say, to be romanced?

The desire to be romanced is the desire to be pursued. It is not a weakness, but a God given gift that reveals God’s heart for us. Similar to the pursuit of a boyfriend or husband—and yet so much more. God longs for us to know He is pursuing us—relentlessly.

Jesus told three parables in which God was portrayed as a seeker (in Luke 15). The shepherd determinedly seeking a lost sheep. The woman turning the house upside down in search of a lost coin. And the father of the wayward son, forever watching the horizon for his son’s return home. In each story the seeker was relentless. Something was so valuable to them, it was worth the effort to look. And there was great joy in the finding.

God seeks out what is valuable to Him. Us. And He does it with love notes.

Oh, but he doesn’t use a generic box of pre-made valentines. He created each of us as a one of a kind original and would never use a one-size-fits-all kind of note to express His love.  As unique as we are in so many ways, so too God crafts His love notes tailor-made  for us.

I have twins—a girl and a boy—and the only thing they have in common is they share the same birthday. He loves chocolate cake. She loves plain white cake. I am not going to communicate my love to her by baking her a chocolate cake, nor would I let him know he was loved by baking him a white cake. I speak to each of them in the individual ways I know mean the most to them. And yes, this does mean that we have two birthday cakes every November twenty-ninth—as if we weren’t already stuffed full of Thanksgiving leftovers.

I know someone who says prime parking places are her love notes from God. I like to park a little farther out and walk. God isn’t going to use a parking space for me. I wouldn’t recognize it as a love note. It would be just another vacant spot of asphalt.

For me, a love note from God may be a gentle breeze, soft against my cheek, gently tugging at my hair. It is the tender touch of a lover. A lover who knows me like no other can because He formed me, knitting together my very being in my mother’s womb. I can assure you, my husband could blow air on my face and the feeling it would trigger would not be even close to the same no matter how lovingly he did it.

How about sunsets, tulips, the taste of chocolate, or the sound of a child laughing? The smell of rain, light through a stained-glass window, a phone call from a friend, or just the right song on the radio at just the time we need to hear it?

God is speaking to us.  And when we hear Him, we should turn our faces to Him. Take our focus off the problems of the world and instead look into the face of our greatest love and most powerful hope.

God is calling, “Come to me.” And waits with arms opened wide.

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Love Notes from God – thoughts from @Lori_Altebaumer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lori AltebaumerAbout the author: Lori Altebaumer is a writer and editor who only half-jokingly tells others she lives with one foot in a parallel universe. She is a wandering soul with a home-keeping heart and a love of words and story. Lori loves sharing the joys of living a Christ-centered life with others through her writing. Now that her nest is empty, Lori enjoys traveling with her husband and visiting her adult children where she can rummage through their refrigerators and food pantries while complaining there’s nothing good to eat here (payback!). She blogs regularly from her website at www.lorialtebaumer.com, and can also be reached on her Facebook page @lorialtebaumerwrites.

Join the conversation: What love note has God given you recently?