by Pastor Mark Jordan
“Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.” (1 Corinthians 9:23, NLT)
I recently started doing a lot of my grocery shopping at Aldi. I like it! No frills for sure, but good quality products at much lower prices. Sure, you have to do a lot of the work yourself, but isn’t that a worthy trade-off? I think so.
I have to admit, the first time I went, I was a bit intimidated by the process, especially the fact you have to “pay” for your cart. Of course, it’s only a quarter, and you get it back when you return the cart, but this dramatically cuts down the labor the store requires to wrangle carts in the parking lot.
The more I went to Aldi, the more I realized something pretty neat: people like to share their quarters and/or carts. There is a sense of community that seems to build before you even walk in the store, because people are looking to generously share their quarters and carts. Sure, you might think a quarter isn’t very much, but I really feels it goes deeper. Inside the store, I have had better conversations, and friendlier interactions, with people than most other places. I think it all goes back to that quarter.
Aldi wants its customers to have some proverbial skin in the game to help maintain the shopping experience. Its just a quarter, but it works. To me, though, it does more…it helps to inspire a sense of community as shoppers look to share their quarters and carts. It’s really quite something, if you ask me.
Today’s verse points to how generosity helps inspire community. There is a reciprocity that comes in giving when you can to inspire others to give, too, knowing the time will come when you are in need. It really works! And it galvanizes community.
Next time you have an opportunity to shop at Aldi (and if you haven’t, give it a shot), pay attention to how their approach to getting shoppers to have some skin in the game changes the entire experience. Then, think about how this can affect other areas in your life. It will if you let it.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for simple reminders that show the power of reciprocity. Help me to get more involved in the areas of my life with the things I have to share. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.