Saturdays were crazy at Roger’s Supermarket.
And back then, many customers brought in their empty soft drink glass bottles for a nickel refund. We would store them in the bottle pen, sorted by brand until each individual company came to claim them. Someone – usually a part-time, sack-boy like me — met the customers, received the bottles, wrote them out a credit, and neatly organized the bottles.
But if the sack-boy working the pen was lazy – especially on a Saturday — it didn’t take long for the bottle pen to become a bottle mess right at the front door of the store. So, here’s how it played out for about five years of my life when I worked at the store with my Dad.
One of the lazier guys would be placed in the pen – as the store traffic grew the mess got bigger and bigger, until one of the store managers knew something had to be done. And, sometimes, that leader was my Dad. He would call me over and say, “Mike, the pen is a mess. Get over there and get it caught up as fast as you can.”
And I would wade into the war zone – like a Special Ops soldier – work like a crazy person for 45 minutes and get it caught back up. Just when it was back in shape and I could sit down for a minute, Dad would show back up and say, “Okay, that looks good – now, go back to Produce and unload that watermelon truck that just came in.”
And the lazy guy would go right back into the pen. Sometimes it made me mad. But, other times, it made me proud that my Dad would give me the hard assignment.
Some of you are in the bottle pen.
The place you serve isn’t well known. It isn’t the place others envy. It’s hard. You face every challenge anyone could face. Sometimes you even wonder, “Why does God leave me here?” You are often discouraged.
So, try to answer your own question – why does God leave you there?
It just might be that you are the best one to be in the hard place. That someone with less character would struggle to serve in a place so difficult. Could it be that your Father has put you there because He loves those people and knows you won’t give up on them?
There is a foolproof way you can know you are where God wants you and here it is – that’s where you are. He has put you in that place to glorify Him in the difficulty. And He is able to move you anytime He chooses to move you.
Until then, embrace this truth — He has put you in the hard place because He knows you can serve there.
It may be Saturday and a big mess might be everywhere, but get back in the bottle pen and experience the joy of serving your Father in the hard place.
Cheer up! You could be unloading the watermelon truck.