Monday, February 13, 2012

Going Postal: Our Lives As Testimonies

Today I went to the post office in Azusa to ship some things to my girlfriend in Spain for her birthday (this is some amusing grammar that I should clarify the meaning of: I do not mean to say that I have a girlfriend in Spain and one here, but rather that my girlfriend is in Spain). After I finished picking out the packaging and making sure that what I was sending would fit nicely, I walked to the counter to get help from the now free attendant.

As it happened, there were two workers available to help me. I almost went with the other one, but had a distinct feeling about the fellow that I chose to help me. He seemed to be an honest man who was trying to do his job well. That intrigued me and I naturally wanted his help. This is not to say that the other employee was not a good worker (although she was a woman), but only that I had a particular feeling about the one chap. And so I walked over to his side of the counter.

What struck me at first was that he did not seem disengaged from his work or have the glazed-over look in his eyes that I have been met with too often at the DMV and other such places. I told him what I wanted to ship and where to, and he immediately went to work figuring out if it would fit and how much it would cost. He very quickly found a way to save me five dollars or so by picking a different sort of packaging. This impressed me and I was already thankful that I had chosen this man.

After picking the right kind of packaging, I needed to step over to the side of the counter and fill out some forms for tracking and delivery purposes. I went about struggling to make my writing legible—something I struggle with quite often as my friends and professors will attest to, although their struggle is arguably the greater one—and the man helped the next customer in line. It was the ensuing conversation that I was compelled by my proximity to overhear.

The customer was rather hostile and was not easy to deal with. He complained that the employee had acted foolishly and without first considering him about his choice of first class mail. The interaction proceeded in a similar manner, with the argumentative fellow berating my helper till he was ready to leave. What struck me was the way that the post office worker handled the encounter. He calmly apologized to the man without begging and did his best to help him however he could. He did not lower himself to the level of the other man. He was calm when the other was not. It was interesting to overhear.

By the time the disagreeable fellow had left I had finished filling out my forms. Rather than rant on about how terrible the people he had to help were or make some obscene comment about the man, he said something short about the man and then went on helping me as if nothing had happened. Ideally, he'd have said nothing at all about the man. But given the way the customer treated him his response was nonetheless admirable. He then finished up preparing my package to ship and sent it on its way. The whole series of events couldn't have lasted more than ten minutes.

So, what then? I was very impressed with how this man handled the situation. It reminded me of the fact that someone is usually, not always (although Someone will always be), but usually watching us and taking stock of how we act.

This is a crucial thing to realize for those of us who are Christians.

It means that our lives are living sermons, living testimonies to what we believe in and cling to. Every action, every word at some level declares what we believe is of utmost importance.

This means, furthermore, that if we are Christians then that we constantly are representing Christ. That is a heavy burden to bear if we think that we can adequately represent Him for who He really is. But thankfully we cannot and God has, in His infinite wisdom, provided for us His Holy Spirit that He might shine through us.

We ought to feel a deep, soul-felt desire that others be saved, that the lost are found in Him. This desire ought to be worked out in a multitude of ways that encompass every aspect of our lives. But I want you to realize one aspect in particular: that how we act as Christians is how many will see Christ.

So, whether you are a customer or an employee, in a public or a private setting, at church or anywhere else, at school or at home, your actions will be interpreted by others. They will serve to declare who you believe is most important, Who you live your life for.

A postal worker made me think of all of that. God speaks to us in unexpected ways, through an incredible variety of people. Woah.

Life like the world is watching and you're representing Christ (because you are!!!),