I was at King Soopers grocery store the other day and was waiting for my turn at the express self-check out lane. All six registers were all tied up with people buying groceries. There was one lady who had a whole basket of groceries she was checking out. I became very frustrated, as I thought, “You are not suppose to have more than 15 items in these lanes”. I looked up at the sign and sure enough, only 15 items. I could feel my blood pressure start to rise as I thought, “This is just not right…this is the express registers and she is holding up the line and I am in a hurry!” I stood there very agitated with my One and only item. I was obviously frustrated as I frowned and took a deep breath and sighed, looked around for another register that might be open in the normal lanes…no such luck. So now I had to continue to stand in the line to wait for my one item. By the time it was my turn, I walked over to my register very agitated. “Express lane, Ha!!” I thought! When I went to leave, the clerk who overlooked all the express registers, smiled and said, “Thank you, have a nice day!” I barely had enough in me to say gruntingly, “You too” as I flew out of the store.
We sure do live in a fast paced society, don’t we? The first time I was really familiar with the word Express was over 50 years ago when I lived in Chicago where we drove the Dan Ryan Expressway. Back then, the word express or forms of that word, sure weren’t thrown around as they are today.
Today we have;
Express lanes on the highway for high occupancy of 2 or more people
Fast food chains; McDonalds, Burger King, Arby’s, Chick Filet’,
Internet You never have to leave your house as you can do almost anything online; chat, read, watch movies, shop, pay your bills
High speed internet getting faster all the time- we receive information at lightning speed and we get upset if our computer isn’t fast enough
TV DVRs where you can rewind if you miss something and even fast forward during the commercials. Ron and I have certain shows we like to watch in the evening, and he’ll say frequently, “Let’s wait a half/hour before we watch it so we can fast forward through the commercials!”
Instant cereal, pudding, coffee,
Speed dial on phones
Microwaves: thaw or cook
Walk-in services such as medical services, nails, hair, “No line, no waiting”
Drive- through: banks, pharmacies, food chains, Starbucks (Starbucks has enough Expresso to keep you on the Express Lane), drive-through dry-cleaners, liquor, and even drive through weddings! Elvis Presley got married at the Little White Chapel in Vegas, but right next door they have a Drive through wedding! Couples never have to get out of their car! I just recently found out there are Drive – through Funerals where you observe the person in the casket on the big screen and pay your respects that way as you drive by!
Drive In: Movies and even church! There is a Drive in Christian Church in Daytona Beach, CA “Come and worship by the seashore as Jesus did!” You can actually go to church and never get out of your car!
The point is, we are not used to waiting anymore for hardly anything! And why should we? Society has conditioned us that faster is better, so when we do have to wait, we are tempted to bust out with frustration, agitation and ANGER!
We have lost the discipline of serving others by ‘waiting’ and developing the fruit of Patience – Spiritual fruit. But who wants to wait for spiritual fruit to grow! We don’t want to wait, we want it now! We want instant maturity but we don’t want the lessons that we have to go through to get it!
Lack of maturity, turns into decaying and rotten fruit. Patience can become so rotten to the point of being very self-serving…And when we are in the spirit of self-serving, Look out, because conflict is right around the corner!
James 4: 1-3 teaches us, “What is the source of fights and quarrels among you? Is not the source your DESIRES that wage war in your members? You You lust and do not have so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain what you want, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive; because you ask with wrong motives so that you may spend it on your DESIRES.”
Conflict starts in the heart. There is a progression or a slippery slide that happens in our hearts when our ‘wants’ or our Desires are not met.
DEMAND starts to set in our hearts that says we no longer want it, but now need it…we start to covet it in our heart that gives us a spirit of entitlement, that we deserve it, we expect it, we’re justified it’s our right to get it
JUDGE We start to judge the one who doesn’t give it to us – we condemn their character and assume motives. We play judge and jury, pronouncing them guilty for not giving it to us.
PUNISH by body language, silent treatment, words, anger, withdraw, rage, avoid eye contact, physical abuse, shame, manipulation…the list goes on
Let’s take a look at what happened to me at King Soopers the other day.
What was my DESIRE? To get out of there as quickly as I could because I only came in for one item and I had other things to do that day.
My heart started to DEMAND that the line move faster and that justice would prevail over the lady that had obviously abused the rule of a minimum of 15 items or less! At this point, I have now sinned.
But I became DISAPPOINTED when all the registers were tied up, and when I saw that the one lady had a cart full of groceries over 15
I immediately JUDGED her by thinking that she could care less that there was a line of people waiting to check out, and that she must be a very selfish person
I punished by my obvious behavior of disappointment and my grunt of a response to the grocery clerk of “You too” when I flew out the door.
It was a good thing that God gave me an attitude check as soon as I got in the car. I made a commitment that day, that from now on, I would use those ‘waiting’ moments as opportunities to develop the Fruit of Patience in my life and to serve others by pleasantly waiting.
As you would guess, God immediately tested me the next day. I was on my way to my office and needed stamps. I didn’t want to inconvenience myself by going to our regular PO because they have no drive-through, so I thought I would go to the nearest King Soopers and get them at the Service Desk. Yep, another KS – God is sure using Kings to test me, huh?
I walk up to the desk just when a younger lady, drinking a Starbucks, leisurely walks up and makes it to the desk before me. She needed stamps, too. However, this transaction drug out for over 5 minutes – I felt like I was watching it in slow motion…
“How many stamps were in a book?” she asks.
She thought, and thought, sipped on her coffee, chatted with the clerk, then thought and thought some more….
She finally decided on the amount and slowly pulled her checkbook out while she continued to chat with the clerk.
She needed a pen…they couldn’t find a pen
Then she needed to show her drivers license and slowly pulled that out
As the clerk squinted to look at the drivers’ license name, he made sure that every dot and tittle were accurate.
Then he pulled out the 6 books of stamps and counted them out one by one on the counter – SLOWLY
So ‘when’ do you ask, did I realize that I was being tested? Somewhere in the middle.
Yep, I thought…THIS IS A TEST!!!!!
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED from my King Soopers episode
Don’t always be in a hurry.
If waiting is an issue, allow for more time
There is an old saying that I say when I am waiting in line and someone apologizes to me for holding me up, “No worries!” I say. “I have more time than money”. I know I need to say that more often.
Slow down so you can serve others with your time by WAITING PATIENTLY
GODCIDENTS are everywhere! They’re not accidents or coincidences but Godcidents. But if you’re on the Express Lane of Life we’re more apt to miss those Godcidents of waiting, as opportunities for Character Building.
James 2:2-4 Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have it’s perfect result that you may be perfect and complete lacking in nothing.
Don’t allow the world’s fast pace distract you from your purpose in life – To love and glorify God and love others better than myself
Get off the express lane of life and slow down – Busting at the seams for being inconvenienced by waiting 1-5 minutes doesn’t Glorify God, Serve others, or the opportunity to Grow to be like Christ. It only causes disunity in our souls and can cause disunity with others.
In closing, as we continue to live in this Age of Faster is Better, let us remember that God is in the business of growing us one test at a time. If we are moving on the Express Lane of life we can be blind-sighted and miss out on the opportunities that God has for us to grow in our relationship with Him and serve others by living out the Gospel in our lives.
I challenge you to Get off the Express Lane of Life so God can use those Moments of Waiting as Moments to serve others and build Character.
I dare you to stand behind someone with a full cart of groceries when you have 15 or less items, ON PURPOSE.