Working at Wal-Mart was always a learning experience. You can find out so much about the DNA in a system just by observing and and asking question. I’m always trying to understand why each particular system operates the way it does.
A sad situation at Wal-Mart became interesting to me after the second day. One of the toilets in the women’s restroom was clogged and not working and management sent the custodian in to fix it. After 15 minutes, the custodian was happy to report that he took care of the situation. In actuality, the custodian merely posted a hand-drawn sign which read, “Out of Order.”
Even though this public restroom had two stalls, people continued to use the “Out of Order” clogged toilet as well as the other one. Because people were continuing to use the “Out of Order” toilet, the situation was “piling up.” When the smell was wafting out into the halls, management again called on the custodian to fix the problem.
Late in the evening of Day two, the custodian reported that he took care of the situation. In addition to his hand-drawn sign, he taped caution tape across the stall door handle and he crisscrossed the caution tape all across the stall door to make things clear that the toilet in that stall should not be used. He also stuffed toilet paper in the missing handle area of the stall door to “secure” that no one would try to get into the stall. It was Day three before a real plumber was called in to actually fix the toilet.
There were other things that were not dealt with in a similar way and those of us on overnight shift refered to this as the “Wal-Mart” way. While Wal-Mart is not all about the clogged toilet situation, there’s something about “not dealing with an obvious situation” that really is revealing. Things just get stinky.
3:1 One more thing, friends: Pray for us. Pray that the Master’s Word will simply take off and race through the country to a groundswell of response, just as it did among you. 2 And pray that we’ll be rescued from these scoundrels who are trying to do us in. I’m finding that not all “believers” are believers. 3 But the Master never lets us down. He’ll stick by you and protect you from evil.
4 Because of the Master, we have great confidence in you. We know you’re doing everything we told you and will continue doing it. 5 May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance.
6 Our orders—backed up by the Master, Jesus—are to refuse to have anything to do with those among you who are lazy and refuse to work the way we taught you. Don’t permit them to freeload on the rest. 7 We showed you how to pull your weight when we were with you, so get on with it. 8 We didn’t sit around on our hands expecting others to take care of us. In fact, we worked our fingers to the bone, up half the night moonlighting so you wouldn’t be burdened with taking care of us. 9 And it wasn’t because we didn’t have a right to your support; we did. We simply wanted to provide an example of diligence, hoping it would prove contagious.
10 Don’t you remember the rule we had when we lived with you? “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” 11 And now we’re getting reports that a bunch of lazy good-for-nothings are taking advantage of you. 12 This must not be tolerated. We command them to get to work immediately—no excuses, no arguments—and earn their own keep. 13 Friends, don’t slack off in doing your duty.
14 If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he’ll think twice. 15 But don’t treat him as an enemy. Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares.
The word “command” means a military order. Some of the Christian soldiers in the church were breaking rank and disobeying orders and Paul was admonishing them. These were people who could have worked but they chose to kick back and not do their part.
In what ways have you witnessed people not doing their part? What thoughts do you have about the custodians way of dealing with the task set before him? Have you worked for people or companies where they dealt with things in a similar way to that of WalMart? If you had been this custodian, would you have tried a different approach to doing your part? If you were a part of the management team, would you have considered the hand drawn sign to be a solution? When have you tried to help someone stay accountable to the task placed before them? Have a day!
In Conversation with a child today: Ask a child to tell you how they can help to do their part
Prayers for our soldiers and others fighting for our country: Nick Steele, Sgt. Zach Fessler, Peter Davidson
Remember in Prayer: Ann, Cindy, Selah, Brussels, Natalie, Earl, Heidi, Linda M., Linda B., Karsten & family, Dan, Sharon, Michael, Rick, Donna, Marc, Vivian, Tim, Jean, Frank, Luke, and for all those in need of God’s healing.
And those experiencing loss – family & friends of: Rachel, Corrine, Susan, Louise, Jette, Kristen, Eva, Jane, Jim, Martha, Joyce, Jim & Linda, Sue, Ward, Amy, Jim, Clayton, Moe
Prayer: We love you, O God and we thank you for this day. We thank you for sending us people to help us know that we are not on a free ticket in life. Thank you for the times when we remember to do our part. May we keep our focus on serving you this day. Amen
Your E-Votional Servant
© 2016 Lucia Oerter
All rights reserved
The Message Bible – contemporary translation
A ministry at Pines Presbyterian Church, 12751 Kimberley Lane, Houston, TX