Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Checkout (06/09/11)
TITLE: Uncertain Identity
By Fern Brown
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No matter which side of the checkout counter you are on, life-long lessons occur.
Mature for her age, thirteen year-old Marci was training to be a checkout girl at a small grocery store in the mid 1960’s. She punched the little round keys, pulled down the lever on the side, and heard the delightful ‘ch-ching’ as the cash register drawer opened. She counted the customers’ change back to them, wished them a good day and waited for the next patron.
“Your main job will be behind the counter, but you’ll learn how to stock the shelves and work the meat section as well. Part of your duties will be to check invoices when deliveries come in. Do you think you can handle it?” The owner continued. “A side benefit for you is to enjoy all the cokes, ice cream, candy and chips that you want”
“Yummy.” she thought, smiling from ear to ear.
After graduation, Marci kept her part time job. She also secured a position with the A&P grocery chain, alternating between the local store and the one in the next small town.
Marci reported to her new job on Monday. The Coca Cola truck pulled up and Joe, the route salesman came in. She flashed her usual friendly smile. He looked at her, almost spoke and then a puzzled look crossed his face. Joe stocked coke on the shelves, handed her the invoice and left. “That’s strange.” she thought. “He acted as if he doesn’t know me.”
Tuesday arrived and Marci worked at the A&P Store in the next town. She grinned when Joe pulled up in his delivery truck and wheeled bottles of coke into the store. Again she greeted him with a smile, saying “Hello Joe.”
He did a double take, asking, “Do you have a twin?”
She explained, “No, I saw you yesterday, too. Remember?”
He thought he had everything figured out, until he stopped at the small grocery store on Thursday. “Oh, no! Are you a triplet now? You’re really one busy young lady, aren’t you? But today you are where you belong, so I recognize you. Don’t be playing any more tricks on me.”
“Now that you know the truth, I won’t be able to confuse you!”
Several years later, Marci, now married and in a new town, pushed her loaded cart towards the checkout area. “What is all the commotion at the counters?” she wondered. Customers and cashiers in two lanes chatted among themselves, all of them ignoring other shoppers. “Well, I guess I’ll just have to wait my turn – even if it takes the whole day. The rest of the lanes are just as busy.” Marci parked her cart in the shorter of the two lanes and settled in.
The lady in line just ahead of her turned around, smiled contagiously, and said, “All of the customers and the checkers in these two lanes have twins. We’re having the nicest conversation. How would you like to have twins?”
Marci added a spark to the gathering, answering, “I do – identical twin girls!” Just then her friend Mary joined the line. “And so does my friend, Mary.”
The smallest details in life can create huge lessons. Coca Cola Joe didn’t fully recognize Marci because she wasn’t in her usual place. Some Christians are found in places that shout, “If you’re who you say you are why are you here?” We need to be careful where we go, how we behave, dress, walk and talk, and make sure we honor Christ’s holy name.
Years later, Marci wasn’t easily identified as a mother of twins because she didn’t take them shopping with her. However, had her girls been with her, there would have been no mistake. Wherever we go, we need to remember that we take Jesus with us. Do we purposely leave Him out of some conversations? Do we pretend He isn’t there? When we love others, we talk about them unashamedly. We should never walk away from a crowd without giving some indication that we love Jesus and delight in Him.
The final ‘ch-ching’ of life’s cash register will someday sound for each of us and the checkout lane will close. Will our Heavenly Father be able to say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
KJV Matthew 25:21b thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
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