- A $20 bill is on the counter alongside the condiments at McDonalds. Do you ask around for its owner or do you keep it?
- Fireworks are illegal in your community even though everyone does it—and no one is fined. Your kids love fireworks, so what do you do?
- The 55 mph speed limit on the county road is never enforced. What do you do?
- The boss gives you a pay raise because of a project he is giving you way too much credit for. Do you speak up ?
- Your grown son’s email program is open on his computer. Do you stop to read?
Making the right decision is not always easy, and many of us “fudge” on issues like these. Maybe the proper response in the above scenarios is easy for you. If so, kudos to you. But not everyone has your maturity or insight. Even Christians can miss the mark.
So how can they learn how to handle difficult dilemmas or decisions? Let’s skip over the standard Christian responses—pray about it and read the Bible—and let’s go straight to a solution I’m going to lay at your feet.
Model it for them.
Hold that thought as we celebrate this week the anniversary of the shopping cart. Sylvan Goldman owned a mess of grocery stores in Oklahoma and he noticed that people checked out, not when they had all they needed, but when their small hand-held baskets were heavy and full. He came up with the idea of a basket they could push around instead of carry. So on April 9, 1940 he was awarded a patent for the first shopping cart.
The response to the shopping cart was … well, underwhelming.
- Women: They’re not stylish. Besides, I quit pushing buggies when my child grew out of one.
- Men: Those things are for sissies.
Goldman’s solution was simple. He hired ordinary people to push the carts around his stores, pretending to shop. They might occasionally talk to other customers—real customers—and tell how much easier their shopping had become with a cart.
Did it work? People changed their opinion and started using shopping carts. And Goldman made $400 million from his patent.
People will imitate what they see modeled. And what better thing for them to imitate than Christ-honoring behavior? Jesus didn’t get the brightest and best to follow Him. He chose ordinary people. And the world saw Christ in these ordinary men and women. They saw how their morals and ethics changed. They saw people loved and valued. They saw forgiveness. And the world was changed.
We can bemoan the state of things at work, at home, and in our communities—or we can model what a Christian looks like. So push around your cart full of love, grace, compassion, forgiveness, and Christ-honoring ethics. Others may just want to join you.
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1).