I always see him tending to the shopping carts.
He is faithful to his job.
Rain or shine, hot or cold, he is there.
He always wears a hat on his head to protect him from the sun.
He will say hello if it is said to him first.
I cannot tell his age.
His height and appearance say one thing; his attitude says another.
This young man is like a child in many ways.
I have no idea why he is in his own little world.
Some may say he is on the autism spectrum.
There is no way of knowing.
He has a job to do and he does it quite well.
I often think that many could learn from him.
His work ethic is amazing.
I can tell that he takes pride in his work.
I can tell that it means a lot to him.
I saw him being dropped off at work one day.
Perhaps it was his mother, or aunt, or an older sister who was driving him.
He never said goodbye.
He just got out of the car carrying his lunch box, wearing a florescent vest.
He walked towards the door.
The driver waited until he got inside.
I am sure that same scenario was repeated many days.
He was well taken care of and that made my heart glad.
Another day, I saw an older woman talking to him as he was gathering the carts.
She was talking.
He was listening.
It was what she said that intrigued me.
I will see you at church on Sunday, she said with certainty.
He muttered something.
He smiled at her.
He continued to push the carts back into the store.
I have never seen him frazzled.
I have never seen him angry.
I have never heard him complain.
I have never noticed that the weather or temperature bothered him.
As workers go, he is a model employee.
I saw him emptying trash cans inside the store.
He seemed more at home outside.
He carries a towel to dry the shopping carts when the rain makes them wet.
All the employees in the store seem to like him.
They say hello but he does not always respond.
He has a kind look in his eyes.
He is perfectly content to be by himself and do his job each day.
I was at that store and was talking to someone I knew.
She happens to be one of the employees.
As we were talking, I heard a noise as the shopping carts were being pushed together.
Oh, it’s not a good day, the employee said, looking towards the young man.
He is so sweet, I said.
He works so hard, I added.
He does, she answered, but something happened to upset him.
Did you hear the shopping carts? She asked.
The shopping carts? I asked her, not understanding what she meant.
That’s how you know he is upset about something, she explained.
He tends to make noise when he pushes the carts together, she said.
I make more noise when I return a shopping cart, I admitted.
He took out his annoyance, or hurt, or frustration on the shopping carts.
No one would have known.
Only those who really know him would discern the subtlety of his action.
Only those who pay attention would notice.
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”
The young man who attends to the shopping carts expressed his frustration subtly.
Only those who really know him would discern his anger or annoyance.
That act of pushing the carts together loudly was his subtle way of expressing himself.
He was subtle yet he spoke volumes.
Jesus was not so subtle when He was in the temple courts.
Jesus displayed righteous anger towards the merchants there.
The merchants set up their wares in the court of the Gentiles.
That was the only place in the temple where the Gentiles were able to pray.
It mattered to Jesus that the Gentiles had a place to pray.
Jesus called the temple, His Father’s house.
Jesus said it was to be a house of prayer.
Jesus had righteous anger because the merchants turned His Father’s house into a market.
Jesus made a whip out of cords.
Jesus scattered the animals.
Jesus overturned the tables.
Jesus was not so subtle.
What about us?
How do we respond when we see someone mistreated?
How do we react when God’s Word is maligned?
How do we express our righteous indignation when our faith is attacked?
Are we so subtle that no one knows how deeply we are disturbed?
Do we dismiss our frustration?
Do we rationalize our anger?
We have Jesus as our model.
The young man who attends the shopping carts showed subtle frustration.
Only those who know him discern his annoyance.
There is a place for righteous indignation.
Jesus showed us that there is a time when we must lay subtleties aside.