Matthew 5:14-16; Daniel 6:1-28
The responsibility of living a Christian life on the job weighed heavily on Elijah.
There were no two ways about it, Elijah was very nervous when he thought about starting his new job at the grocery store on Saturday.
It wasn’t the work—he was sure he could handle that. It wasn’t the people he would be working with. Elijah liked people and usually didn’t find it difficult to get acquainted. The problem came when he thought about having to bow his head and thank the Lord for his lunch in front of all those guys he would be working with.
Elijah sat on the side of his bed and argued with himself. Why should I be fretting about a thing like that? Maybe they won’t even notice, and they probably wouldn’t say anything if they did. Or would they?
He sighed. This kind of thinking wasn’t helping a bit. Maybe he should try praying about it! He knelt beside his bed and began to talk to God.
“Lord, You know all the things I’ve been thinking the last few minutes. It’s probably a crazy thing to trouble You about, but I just can’t get it out of my mind.” He paused for a moment, and then said, “I’m so thankful for the day You saved me. I want to show others that it’s great to be a Christian. But it’s hard when people make fun of me, and I’m afraid they might tomorrow. Won’t You please help me do the right thing?”
On Saturday, the morning seemed to pass by quickly as Elijah adjusted to the routine of his new job. A few minutes before their lunch break, Colin, one of the other boys, passed Elijah with a hand truck stacked with boxes of apples. “Soon as I unload these over at the produce counter, I’m heading for the break room. Did you bring a lunch?” At Elijah’s nod he said, “I’ll meet you there, then.”
Elijah’s heart beat a little faster. Here it comes! “Thank you, and have a nice day,” he said automatically to the woman whose groceries he had just finished loading. He nodded to Jack, the guy who would fill in as box boy while he took his break, and went to get his lunch.
A few minutes later he slid into the place Colin had saved for him at the employees’ lunch table in the back room. Slowly he opened his lunch sack. He took out his sandwich and set it down on the paper napkin in front of him. He took out an apple and placed it next to the sandwich. He took out a bag of chips and opened it. Then, he bowed his head and prayed.
It probably wasn’t the best or most eloquent prayer he had ever prayed, and Elijah would be the first to confess it wasn’t very fervent, but he was determined to start out right.
Even before he raised his head he could sense the silence around him and feel eyes on him. But when he looked up, Colin and the two guys across the table looked quickly away and fidgeted with their lunch sacks. Then two of them started talking at once and in a moment the strain passed. The lunch break went by quickly—and Elijah went back to work with a feeling of inner satisfaction. He had made it over the first hurdle.
A few weeks later, Colin was walking out of the grocery store with Elijah at quitting time. “Boy, it’s really been a day, hasn’t it? Sometimes it is hard to keep your cool when people sound off or yell at you to hurry up with their groceries.” He hesitated for a moment, then continued. “I notice that you take all this hassle right in stride, Elijah. I’ve never once seen you get mad.”
Elijah looked at Colin. “I’m a Christian, Colin, and the Lord helps me . . .”
He didn’t get any further. “I thought so!” Colin exclaimed. “I figured that out the first day you prayed over your lunch! And watching you these past few weeks made me sure of it.”
Elijah glowed inside. He might never be a great missionary to India or Peru, but there were people all around him who needed to know they could have a happy life in Jesus. Suddenly a bit of Scripture came to his mind: “Ye are the light of the world.” It was his responsibility to let people know that he belonged to Jesus—and he had done it!