My three year old son cozied up in the grocery cart, surrounded by items about to be bought and played peacefully. I was in “mommy focused mode” as I walked isle to isle discerning the best shopping deals. My focus was so intent that I was oblivious to the world around me. That was until I saw him. Several yards before me was a homely looking man, shuffling his way through the store, appearing to be clueless as to why he was there or what he was intending to buy. I quickly jumped out of “mommy focused mode” to protective mom…don’t you mess with my child or else! In hopes to avoid any eye contact with the man, I stealthy attempted to steer clear. My mission became unsuccessful as he glanced over to see the small child hiding amongst the items in my cart. My heart beat faster as I witnessed him moving closer…and closer. His hand reached out toward my precious child and I put my foot on the led! Zooming past him at the speed of lightning, his muttered sentence replayed in my thoughts for the remainder of the day. In the heat of the moment, I could not understand his words. My focus was straight ahead and never once did I look into his eyes. But as I passed by, I reviewed the situation and recalled him saying something like, “Is he a certain price or by the pound?”
I realize in this day of age we must be careful with the possible dangers around us. However, the feelings I immediately felt following this situation stunned me. My heart was full of guilt. I looked at him in judgment; however, he was attempting to make small talk to a stranger. Looking back, there were plenty of people surrounding me that if I felt in danger, I believe others would have stepped up to help. And after hearing his words over and over in my mind, I concluded he was innocently trying to be friendly after seeing the sweet child. What breaks my heart further is what happened earlier that morning.
I began my day in Bible study. I had stated in prayer, just hours before, my desperate need for God and desired Him to deeply live through me. And when faced with an opportunity to show kindness, I ran. I crumbled in weakness and quenched the Holy Spirit’s power in me.
Paul confronts the Galatians on their returning to slavery. They were once zealous people for God but had begun to listen to the world and live in the slavery of legalism. He challenges them by saying, “It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.” (Galatians 4:18) How is it that I can begin my day in complete praise and zealous for God yet hours later, be enslaved to my own weakness and perspective? If I want to be zealous for God, I must be so to all people, at all times, wherever I go.
I may never see that man again. He may have brushed off the situation, never to think of it again. But I know if Jesus had been present, the entire scene would have played out differently. I must be zealous for God all the time. And if we all, who call ourselves Christians, lived in the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, completely zealous for Christ, I just wonder what the world would look like!