A quarter. 25 cents. 2 bits. Call it what you want- it doesn’t have the buying power it once had. When I was a kid, penny candy was..well…a penny! So, tax included, I could get somewhere in the neighborhood of 23 pieces of candy for a quarter. 23 pieces! If you’re a kid, especially one who grew up when I did- walking uphill both ways to school, 4 miles one way, in the snow…year-round…with cardboard for shoes (Although, as I got older, we moved up in the world- I got to ride my dinosaur to school!) 23 pieces of candy is pretty sweet! In fact, the only thing better than 23 pieces of candy would be…24 pieces!
But these days, a quarter just doesn’t have the same UMPH it used to. You can’t buy much for a quarter. Candy bars are over a buck. A pack of gum is not much UNDER a buck…or more. Even the machines that sit at the entrance to the local grocery store, more and more, want not one but two quarters in order to get…whatever “treasure” is inside. It takes several of them…SEVERAL…to wash your car at the self-wash and several more to vacuum it out afterwards. Back in the day, many people wouldn’t stop to pick up a penny on the sidewalk. Now, fewer and fewer people would stop to get a quarter. So what good are quarters these days?
My wife and I have figured out that a quarter can fund a ministry that can be like the Jelly of the Month Club from the movie Christmas Vacation- the gift that keeps on giving! We frequent the discount grocery store Aldi. And if you’re not familiar with Aldi…you should be! But one of the ways they hold down costs is that they have a small labor force. They don’t have anybody who goes out into the parking lot, gathers carts and puts them back. Instead, they motivate their customers to do it!
When you get there, you need…a quarter. You stick the quarter in a slot on the cart. That releases a chain that locks your cart to the one behind it. Voila! You have a cart to use! When you’re done, you run the cart back and get your quarter back! (When our younger son was little, he LOVED putting the cart back because he got to keep the quarter!)
But we don’t retrieve our quarter. Oh, we put one IN…usually. But we don’t get one back. Instead, we have joined a growing number of folks who have turned that whole venture into a “pay it forward” ministry.
Here’s a common scenario for us. We get to the store. We walk toward the cart rack and encounter someone taking their cart back. “Are you putting that back?” He smiles and says, “Here you go!” As we start to give him a quarter, he shakes his head and says, “No- just pass it on to the next person! That’s how I got it!”
Our first instinct is to say, “Hey! That’s OUR line!” But instead, we smile and say, “Thanks! We will pass it on! Have a great day!” We talk about him off and on as we traverse the store. And then, when we’re done, we take our cart to the car to unload it. Once all the groceries are in the car, my wife goes to put the cart away. (And before you give me grief about not doing it FOR her, A. I offer…EVERY time and B. she wants the extra steps!) She doesn’t get 10 steps away from the car before someone comes up. My wife hands the cart over to her, refuses her quarter and encourages her to pass it on. And…we leave!
In the end, do we change any lives at the Aldi? Nope! But we do participate, in a TINY way, in showing the love of Christ to people. Someone showed it to us. Someone showed it to them. We showed it to someone else. Hopefully they pay it forward, too. Find ways, every day, to share the love of Jesus Christ with those you come in contact with.
We continue to focus on the glass being half-full. We continue to embrace each day with grateful thanksgiving. #TheGlovedAvenger #TeamHarris #WarriorOn! #Huzzah! We greatly appreciate your prayers, love and support. Check back regularly or simply subscribe to receive an email every time there is a new post. Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day. Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!