Wednesday, August 11, 2010




When I was priest in Baytown, I took on the unofficial role of chaplain to the Stop-N-Go convenience store clerks. I'd visit one or two a day. We came to know each other. I got started in this ministry after a Wednesday night (Lotto night) at around 9 pm. There was a long line and people were being extremely rude to the clerk, feeling justified in their rudeness due to the fact that they had to get their Lotto picks in before the 9 pm deadline. I got to the clerk just after 9. I told him, "You are not any of those things you just heard. You are special and have infinite worth." I shook his hand and bought my Diet Coke.


From then on, I made it my mission to encourage those in the service industry, especially store clerks. Who would want that job?  These folks have back stories, some very moving. One or two would get held up or shot at each year. I remember visiting a lot of them after one was murdered.


Rudeness or the treating of another as inferior is no part of the Christian witness. Yet rudeness, if not contempt has come to be the norm. Jesus makes it clear that those who are looked down upon (Matthew 25) are, in fact, him. We dis them, we dis Jesus. The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that we are to be hospitable to others unknown to us. When we do, we entertain God. Paul puts it very succinctly.  


"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves." Philippians 2:3 (NIV)


Today, go out of your way to encourage a person whose vocation is to serve others. Let them not be faceless. Let them not be the object of our and any other's rudeness. See them as God's children, precious and of great value. Just like you are.

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