Yesterday, I was sitting in the Sam’s Club in Normal, Illinois, eating a crispy chicken sandwich and enjoying a chocolate milk shake. (This is what I call a “fancy” date with my wife.) In the half hour or so that we sat there, I experienced a LOT of great things.
Being near the cash registers meant that I saw the amazing array of items purchased. Items manufactured all over the world, shipped to this precise location, purchased by willing buyers. It made me marvel at the wonders of the free market. No government ordered and administered program could operate at such efficiencies.
I considered the food in front of me. Someone had to raise chicken, slaughter it, process it, and ship it. Someone had to raise wheat, bake it into bread, package and ship it. Someone had to raise and process cocoa beans into chocolate. Someone had to milk cows, process and ship the milk. Someone had to create, manufacture, and ship a machine which would turn the processed milk and chocolate into the delectable shake before me. Just amazing.
I considered the conversations that I heard around me. A manager was apologizing to a customer. The customer was happy to receive the apology, and there was true agreement. The workers at the cash registers expressed happiness at being able to work with one another as they were starting their shift. Families were walking out of the store talking happily with one another about their purchases.
I was impressed by the contentment of the workers. They seemed thankful to have jobs and were happy with their conditions. There was a young lady who had some developmental disabilities that was sweeping the floor. She took her job very seriously. It was clear that she wanted to this right. She was diligent to see that she did not get in the way of any customers, yet she still wanted to get all the areas clean.
I saw a great diversity of people as I sat--a wide variety of races-- a wide variety of dress—a wide variety of wealth. One white man entered the store with three black children, holding the hands of two of them. I imagined that he was a foster father there to purchase school supplies. There was a guy in a Menard’s shirt eating at the Sam’s club. A UPS guy was buying stuff at a nearby cash register. One man was checking out of the store with 300 lbs of kitty litter. I joked with him that he must have lots of cats. He joked back with me and with the Sam’s Club check out guy.
What a great world! My mind went to Psalm 8—God has crowned man with glory and honor. He has given us dominion over the works of our hands and has put all things under our feet.
In most non-Christian worldviews, this is as far as it goes—“all praise to man, for he is good.” In most Christian worldviews, there is such an awareness of depravity that we fail to see the imago Dei. We seem almost to revel in our accurate depiction of what’s wrong in this world. I too think the study of what is wrong is worthwhile because so few understand the horrific nature of sin and depravity. See, for example, my post on "Self-Admiration" from June 28.
BUT, just once in awhile, it is likewise a worthy endeavor to stop and observe the remarkable imprint of the image of God in every human heart. It is a worthy endeavor to praise our Maker for making us humans so remarkably special. It is a worthy endeavor to consider that the people of this world are wonderfully made, and that God’s desire is that none of them would perish.
Thank you, Sam’s Club #4815, for this helpful reminder.