Those Who Turn The Lights On
I could hear the popcorn as it spilled in the theater.
I heard the sound of the large container as it fell on the floor.
I heard whispering and mumbling as the person who dropped the popcorn tried to catch it.
Their reflexes were not quick enough; the popcorn rolled down between the line of seats.
When the theater lights came on, it was obvious that more than one container of popcorn fell.
The floor felt sticky, where someone’s sugary drink spilled.
Candy wrappers were scattered here and there.
Styrofoam containers were sticking out of the trashcan.
I saw the young workers standing at the side of the theater.
Each in their uniform, they were standing next to large trashcans.
Perhaps a sign saying: Throw your trash away here, might have helped.
I am grateful for the people who clean up the theater.
People line up to get their cup of coffee.
I have been to some of those little coffee shops when I meet a friend for tea.
No matter how early we may meet, there is always someone who gets there before that.
No matter when the line forms, the coffee is ready.
No matter when the line forms, the people behind the counter have a smile.
No matter the time on the clock, someone has gotten up even earlier to bless someone else.
We tend to forget.
We take it for granted.
I am grateful for the people who make the coffee early in the morning.
Inevitably when running errands, a bathroom will have to be used.
The doors are always open.
The area is always clean.
Paper towels are in the dispenser.
I am grateful for the people who keep the bathrooms clean.
When going out to lunch or dinner, a delicious meal is anticipated.
You enter the restaurant and are seated at your table.
The menu is presented.
You know right away what you will choose.
You order and trust that the server will take your order correctly.
Any questions are answered.
Suggestions are made.
You are certain that your meal will come out of the kitchen the way you want it.
I am grateful for the people who cook the meals and the ones who serve it to others.
On any given Sunday, they are there.
Men are waiting at the doors of the church.
The doors are held open for each and every person.
A handshake and a smile are given to everyone.
If it is raining, they stand ready with an umbrella for those dropped off at the door.
If it is snowing, the sidewalks are salted so that no one will slip.
They arrive much earlier than everyone else to make sure the church is welcoming.
They arrive early to turn on the lights and make sure the temperature is comfortable.
I am grateful for the ones who turn the lights on.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23)
I talked to a friend who moved away years ago.
We try to catch up on the phone and not just through social media.
My friend just got back from Japan.
Her husband was there on business and she went with him.
We were in Tokyo, she said.
There were so many people, yet everything was orderly and calm.
You could eat off the street; there was no trash anywhere, even the subway was spotless.
No one raised their voice, everyone took their job seriously, we were served with a smile.
I tried to figure out why it is like that there, she continued.
They took pride in a job well done; there was such honor in their work, she explained.
They took their jobs very seriously.
Every job mattered from the least to the greatest, she added.
Then I came home to the states and went to the dry cleaners and ran a few errands.
No one seemed to want to be working.
You could tell by their body language, they did not want to be there.
It still astounds me, she said.
We each had our theories as to why the cultures were so vastly different.
I wondered if there is a spirit of entitlement here that is not present in other places.
The, I deserve better, mentality that can paralyze us.
How did we get here?
When was the last time we thanked the bathroom cleaners?
When was the last time we told the theater custodians that we appreciate them?
When was the last time we told the barista that we are grateful they made the coffee?
When was the last time we thanked our server for their attitude and their efficiency?
What kind of work ethic are we passing on to our children?
Do we model a spirit of gratitude that they can catch from us?
Are we showing our children that there is honor in hard work?
Are we putting an end to a spirit of entitlement when it rears its ugly head?
Do we have an elitist attitude without even realizing it?
Are our children aware that they will start in a position and work their way up from there?
Do our children have an us and them mentality without even knowing it?
Are there unrealistic expectations concerning work?
Thankfulness goes a long way.
Gratitude makes even the smallest job a gift.
Hard work is honorable.
Knowing that you play a part in the bigger picture gives you a sense of belonging.
God gave us work.
Work goes back to the Garden.
Like everything else God made, work was good.
It was only after sin entered the world that work became toil.
One day, when Jesus makes everything new again, work will be what it once was.
There will be no toil; there will be no sweat on the brow.
Work will be honorable because the purpose of work will once again be the way God designed.
Work will once again be for His glory and for our good.