This holiday, after leaving my full-time job behind, I got a job at a major department store to earn a little extra spending money. I’ve mainly been running the register. But in between customers one of our main duties in the store is The Folding.
It’s incredible, really. You spend a few minutes folding a stack of shirts. Everything on the shelf looks in order. You turn around to check out one customer. You turn back around and a dozen shirts are back on the floor again.
As an employee I begin to wonder what the point is. I wonder why I bother picking up all these clothes off the floor just to see them knocked over and out of place just a few moments later.
But The Folding has to be done. We must go through the motions of The Folding and The Re-Folding day after day after day to keep the store in order. If we deny our duties just one day then the store would go into disarray.
So each day I consider 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 where Paul teaches us, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: you should mind your own business and work with your hands as we told you so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
And I remember Colossians 3:23-24 where Paul instructs us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Working in retail again after a 7 year absence has been a wake-up call for me. After working inside the confines of the church for years I’ve been challenged not just with The Folding but with being back in the real world with people who aren’t necessarily of the same faith and mindset as myself.
Most customers who walk through the door aren’t looking to make a spiritual connection. They aren’t looking to share their stories. They aren’t looking for the Gospel. They’re just looking for pants.
Think about it: when you’re a customer, don’t you want to get in and out of a store with as little incident or conversation as possible? I understand this. I am guilty of this myself.
Running the register and running into so many new faces everyday, I want to do my part in changing this.
Every day as I drive into the parking lot I say a prayer for my next shift. I want to share the outline of that prayer with you today.
Each day heading into work I pray over the fruits of the spirit from Galatians 5:22-23. I pray first that I rest and find my strength in those fruits. I pray then that God would bear those fruits in me for each person I come into contact with – customers as well as my fellow employees.
I know I’m not the first person to ever do this. I know I’m not the first Christian to enter the retail world and want to make it a better place from the inside out. That’s why I’m posting this today – as encouragement, motivation, and help for those out there who want to do the same.
If you’re in retail, you can pray this the next time you go into work. If you’re not in retail, pray for the workers you come into contact with. Whether you’re working or shopping, think of the person on the other side of the register. Think of the position they’re in. Try to love and serve them. I guarantee it will impact their day.
“Father, I’m thankful for where you have placed me today. I am thankful to have a job in this economy. More than that, what a blessing to be in the position to serve so many new people each day.
Father, I pray I would reflect your love to every person I come in contact with today. I pray I would be joyful in service to each person who comes by my register. I pray for peace no matter what may go wrong in each transaction. I pray for patience with customers and employees who frustrate me with their requests. I pray for kindness in the face of this frustration as I try to think less of myself and more of others. I pray I would be gentle and not angry or short toward anyone. I pray for goodness out of my heart in helping my brothers and sisters find what they need instead of just trying to make a sale. I pray to stay faithful to my beliefs and to my purpose no matter how tired or distracted I become. I pray for self-control as the day goes by and my brain and body encourage me to start taking shortcuts.
Above all else I pray to be a light in the darkness. I pray to be a small encouragement to my brothers and sisters. I pray that even just a minute of interaction with someone could brighten their day and point them toward You Lord.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
How do you pray for the people you come in contact with at your job each day?