God’s Thrift Shop Messenger


 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

“Did I get in front of you?” I asked a kind-looking, burly man who had quietly joined the growing line of customers at a local thrift shop just after the holidays. Busy. Busier than I had ever seen the store in fact. I don’t know why I figured post-holiday shopping would mean less of a line, less crowds, less waiting, and less need for more patience. “I think you may have been in front of me.”

“No, I have all the time in the world,” the man responded politely.

“Patience. It’s a fruit of the Holy Spirit,” I replied. “And I need a heck of a lot more of it,” I said laughingly. But, of course, I was totally serious.

We had begun a typical little chit-chat-in-a-store-with-a-stranger kind of conversation, and I, in my usual style, and typical passion, couldn’t help but bring the Lord into the conversation.

“When you rush, you tend to run into things,” the well-mannered man responded. What an unusual comment, wasn’t it? Not something I would have thought about, let alone thought to say to someone. But how right he was. The fast-paced life does result in “accidents,” doesn’t it? Bumping into stuff – and people. Rush, rush. But this isn’t all, is it?

“You tend to run into things – and to miss things. Like the Lord. And His will.” That’s what we do when we go too fast, too fast to hear, obey, and follow the Lord, His will, and His timing, isn’t it?

Wow. What a message the Lord had poured out in a little talk between two strangers. Rushing through our lives, we run into things and people and miss in our hurry what God might have in store for us. His leading.

I grabbed my mini notebook and a pen right then and there to begin writing this little devotional. For I sensed by God’s Spirit there was a loud and clear message in this. Even as I had intentionally over the past month dramatically slowed down my life, I still have the hurry-up, rush-through-life instinct in me that I need to be ever careful not to succumb to. In fact,  by the time I finally was able to pay for my items due to a very slow moving line, and as the cashier took an inordinately long time with her customers in my estimate anyway, I was already impatiently, un-lovingly trying to hurry through my sale and rush out the door. The cashier wanted to love. I wanted to rush. I have a long way to go in learning to slow down and to be led by God’s Spirit. The ever more patience I need must be borne of God’s Spirit who dwells within me as a follower of Jesus. God had sent me a messenger in the thrift shop to remind me. Let us all pay heed to the message. Shall not the Lord lead the way? Yes. In His time.

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