I know it's been a while since I posted a devotion, but I've been doing 'em.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
“If you have made another person on this earth smile, your life has been worthwhile.”
~ Sr. Mary Christelle Macaluso
I used to work at Starbucks Coffee as a Barista—a fancy word Starbucks uses for people who serve coffee. I enjoyed it at first—the smell of fresh coffee—that is bitter and sweet at the same time. The atmosphere of Starbucks was one of sophistication and hurriedness, as people rushed in and rushed out with their coffees off to their busy lives. Making the coffee products were enjoyable, too. But, after a while, the days became longer and the business caught up to me. I remember one particular day I was making tea and I tripped, spilling the boiling hot water all over my hands. The day did not get any better, as the lines got unusually long, making customers unhappy as they had to wait, customers who had grown accustomed to their own special routine that included a warm cup of sweet, flavorful Starbucks coffee. And I remember complaining to my manager at the end of the day how bad it was.
“I just feel like I got nothing accomplished,” I said.
He replied, “What do you mean?”
I responded, “Well, the lines were long and customers were unhappy. I burnt myself. I just feel like today was a waste. Like today was a really bad day.”
My manager responded, “But you did your job. Even though the lines were long and people were unhappy, you were able to help brighten people’s days just by being there, simply by listening to their concerns and helping them get their coffee.”
My managers words were unexpected. I had not realized that my job was more than simply getting people their coffee. My job was more than that. It was serving people with a smile, helping them in perhaps the smallest way possible get through their day. And even though serving someone coffee is quite simple, I was able to help people smile, even if only for a few minutes on their way to work in the morning.
In life, so often we can get caught up in the disappointments in life. We can have bad days. Sometimes bad weeks or bad months! And it can feel like we’re not helping anyone. But just by being there, being a listening ear, being someone that smiles and says hello in the hallway, we can brighten someone’s day.
In the Bible verse I read, the prophet Micah is asking what all he needs to do to give God the praise God deserves. Micah asks if ten thousand rams would be enough, if rivers and rivers of oil would be enough. If that’s not enough, then what? Micah offers to give his first born child up to God! And yet, at the end, Micah realizes that all God requires is to love mercy, love kindness, and walk humbly alongside our God.
Just like a smile and a cup of coffee was a very humble means of serving another person, it was still serving them. It was still one small thing I could do to brighten someone’s day. Just by being kind, loving mercy, and walking humbly through the ups and downs of life we are serving our neighbors, and we are serving God.
So for today, I’d like to ask you to reflect on a few questions. How can we walk humbly in our lives? What small ways can we show kindness to one another?
Let us pray. Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe. You have protected us all through this night and with each new day comes new opportunities to serve you and to serve one another, so that we may act justly, love mercy and kindness, and walk humbly in your Holy Name O Lord. Let us pray together the prayer your Son taught us:
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.