Yesterday I went to a local home improvement store to return some unused items I purchased for a small kitchen project. Directly in front of me was a man who had several things he planned on returning, including a level that was obviously used, worn, and scratched. I was a little shocked when I overheard him telling the store representative that he wanted a full refund on that item, claiming it didn’t work properly. I thought to myself, “Dude, of course it didn’t work right after what you put it through!”
To my even greater surprise was the calm and gracious way the customer service representative handled the situation. She asked a couple of questions about the level and then asked the man to sign a document verifying what he said was true. Then she granted his request and gave him credit for the returned level.
After I had returned my items (again, all in unopened, new condition!), I made a point of thanking the woman and telling her that she was very good at her job. I continued through the store to purchase a few more items for my project and felt good about my choice of this company over other home improvement stores in the area.
I later reflected on the customer service rep’s calm demeanor and grace as she dealt with a difficult person. It dawned on me that she was operating under this principle:
She was in the business of representing her employer, who trained her how to handle herself in difficult situations like this one. And she did it well! She knew her job was to serve her employer by doing her best to serve the people who came before her. She followed not only the protocol but also the heart of the company who empowered her and put her in that position.
As I was driving home, I went onto an entrance ramp to a freeway behind several cars, all of which were traveling at or close to the speed limit. I glanced to my right and to my surprise saw a man, driving solo, flying through the ride-share lane 25 miles per hour over the speed limit. He cut in front of me and then proceeded down the highway.
Part of me railed at the injustice of the situation: It wasn’t fair! I was following the traffic, minding my own business and this guy cuts me off— from the carpool lane no less!
But then I thought about the customer service representative I had just observed and had an “aha!” moment where the Holy Spirit reminded me of the guiding principle of my life:
I am in the business or representing God, who is training and empowering me how to handle myself in difficult situations like this one. God reminded me that my job is to serve Him by doing my best to pray for and serve the people who come into my path each day.
I am praying for that young driver even as I write this.
You see, I’m reminded that I have been forgiven for much worse than cutting off someone in traffic. God asks me to forgive as I have been forgiven. Pray for those who do me wrong: Seventy times seven, over and over again, as long as I have breath. I now have the great privilege to represent God, who offers the same grace and mercy, to the people who cross my path each day.
Authentic worshippers of God ask Jesus Christ to remind us that we’re in the business of representing Him on this planet. Next, we allow God to train and equip us by His Word and Holy Spirit. Finally, we let His peace rule in our being as we go about the eternally important business of representing Him to a world of people desperately searching for hope and purpose. The Apostle Paul put it this way:
“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
” 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)
We’re like God’s customer service representatives, bringing His Heart and Message to people!
God bless you.