Through years of grocery shopping experience, I have determined that the world can be divided into two kinds of people: those who return grocery carts to their proper storage areas, and those who do not. I swell with pride each time I return my cart - and perhaps the odd straggler as well - to its proper place before leaving the parking lot. I do not have much patience for those who leave their carts in places that cause others inconvenience.

Tonight as my wife and I were unloading our cart into the back of our van, I heard the all-too-familiar clang of a cart being pushed partway up a concrete curb. Another shopper, not willing to push the cart back to a designated area, chose to park it where it did not belong. While he did make an attempt to keep it from rolling into and denting other vehicles in the parking lot, he left it in an area that would impede traffic and create extra work for store staff.

As soon as he deserted the cart, another shopper started waving at him and shouting, "Excuse me! Excuse me, sir? Excuse me!" It appeared that he was about to be scolded. Visibly agitated, the Cart Man scowled and, avoiding eye contact, skulked back to his car with hopes of making a quick getaway.

As Cart Man started to back out of his parking space, Excuse Me Man trotted over to the abandoned cart and picked up some groceries that Cart Man had forgotten and not noticed in his cart's bottom rack. Excuse Me Man rushed over to Cart Man's car and held the remaining groceries up to the passenger window, with a smile. He opened the passenger door, placed them on the empty seat beside Cart Man, and gently closed the door.

I didn't get to see the look on Cart Man's face, but it must have been priceless.

Ask yourself...

  • When I know I've done wrong and God tries to get my attention, do I harden my heart and try to avoid Him, expecting to be punished?
  • In what way do Excuse Me Man's actions differ from how I expect God to respond to sin?
  • How open am I to receiving - and sharing - God's grace?

Today, if you would hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts... - Psalm 95:7-8

The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone - as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. - Psalm 103:8-17

Author's Bio: 

Humorist Will Rogers once observed, "There are three kinds of men - ones that learn by reading, a few who learn by observation, and the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves."

Though he has never braved a real electric fence, Larry Hehn understands the above metaphor all too well. His life is more a series of clumsy learning experiences than a polished "how-to" manual.

Remarkably, God has called Larry to share these slices of imperfection and accumulated wisdom with readers from over thirty countries around the world - those fortunate souls who prefer to learn through reading and observation.

Larry's first book, Get the Prize, was published in 2003. He is currently writing his second book, expected to be released in 2010.

He lives in Canada with his wife and four children.

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