As I was waiting in line to buy something a few weeks back, I asked myself, “What does it mean to worship God here?” I’m not sure about you, but there are few places I find less worshipful than standing in line waiting to check out. Instead, I just want to get through the line as quickly as possible, and get to the next item on my to-do list!
But the reality is that the checkout line is just as much a part of God’s sovereign domain as any place else in His creation. It’s just as valid a ‘frontline’ as any other frontline He has given us. So in what ways might the Kingdom advance while we wait to purchase something?
Well, one of the most obvious ways is by allowing God’s character to be formed in me, allowing the fruit of His Spirit to be displayed in my life—e.g. “love, joy, peace, patience….” (Galatians 5:22-23). So I hope you would agree that the checkout line is certainly a place where patience can be formed!
Secondly, the checkout line is a place where we’ll usually have a chance to interact with someone made in the image of God. It’s easy for me to look past this opportunity, as often my goal is to make this as “efficient” an exercise as possible. But perhaps efficiency shouldn’t necessarily be my highest priority in this instance. Instead, I can take a moment or two to try to display a small glimpse of Christ’s love to someone who needs it. A smile, a kind word, or even an inquiry into how their day is going, may mean more than we might imagine.
Finally, when we purchase items, we can contribute to the flourishing of others. Of course, we need to be good stewards of the resources that God has entrusted to us and not live beyond our means. And we must guard against “consumerism”, not allowing greed and envy to define us, but rather finding our identity in Christ. Yet when we purchase good things to fulfill God-given needs, we do our small part to enable our economic system to function as it was intended. This in turn provides others with an opportunity to engage in meaningful work, providing for themselves and others.
So the next time that you’re waiting in the checkout line, I hope that you will see it as an opportunity to worship God, allowing Him to work in and through you to advance His Kingdom purposes.
Chris Lake co-founded the Vere Institute (Oct 2014 – May 2021) to empower Christians to integrate their faith into everyday life, their “frontlines.” Chris continues to serve pastors through offering transitional coaching. You can find him on LinkedIn. The Vere Institute’s legacy lives on through our Vere Library, a republishing of many of their written works.