Have you ever thought what it's like to be a kid at the grocery store? Mother is in a hurry and she takes the kid and stuffs him into the steel seat and says, "Sit there and be quiet. I've got to pick up a couple of things." Now when mother says a "couple of things" that means a couple of things from each section.
"Now, son," she says, "you can't have everything. Just sit there and be quiet. I will roll you up and down the aisles, and you can see all the wonderful things to get but you can't have anything — but I will get everything I want, and not only that, you will have to sit on what I get." Well, to a kid, that's like sitting on Ronald MacDonald's lap and not getting a Happy Meal. Children are not happy campers in the grocery store.
While women make kids sit in the seat, men just let them run loose. Women: here is some advice — Don't ever leave your children with a man. He will forget about them. In USA Today, I read about a man who put his kid in a child seat on top of the car and drove off. When he hit about 50 he noticed something fly off. It was his kid!!! The boy landed perfectly in the middle of the road and was smiling when his dad got to him. I think God has special angels who go on duty when Dads are left with the children.
I have a friend who was with his son in the grocery store. His son kept asking him if he could be a dog. Finally the dad said, "Fine, be a dog. Just leave me alone." Later he saw his son, Jake, run up to a man and lick his leg. Horrified the dad ran and apologized to the man. The guy took it well and said, "I'm just glad he didn't think I was a fire hydrant."
Speaking of licking, I saw a kid with a burned lip and asked him what happened. He said he burned it licking his night light. I asked him why. He said he'd never licked one before. See, kids like to experience everything, and at the grocery store there is so much to experience.
A lady was in a hurry to get groceries, and she put her son in the seat and told him to be quiet. As she hurried along, putting stuff in the cart, the kid spotted some chocolate chip cookies. He said, "Mom, please may I have some?" She said, "No! I told you to be quiet." About four aisles over, the kid asked if he could just have a few chocolate chip cookies. Again, she told him no and to be quiet. About the sixth aisle he asked, "Mom, could I just have one chocolate chip cookie?" Again, she said no, popped him, and told him to hush or she'd have the manager put him in the big freezer.
When they got to the check-out area, the lines were long. The mother glanced down and saw a gleam in the boy's eyes. She knew something was coming, but she didn't know what. Now I didn't see him, but I imagine this kid in those yellow, feetie pajamas. All of a sudden, he stands straight up in his seat, lifts his hand straight toward heaven, and in his loudest voice hollers, "In the name of Jesus, give me some chocolate chip cookies!"
I'm told the grocery store erupted in applause, so he said it again. More applause, and with everybody clapping, the mother didn't know what to do. So she ran and got him the chocolate chip cookies.
Now what can we learn about life in the grocery store? As an adult, I can learn that sometimes, when I go to the store, I get things I don't need — and I don't realize how much they cost until I get to the check-out. It's kind of like life: If you live by distraction instead of direction, and don't have a list of priorities to go by, it could be that when it's time to check out, you realize some things cost you a whole lot more than you thought.
But it's the lesson from the little boy in the yellow feetie pajamas that's really important. In a simple but powerful way, his story teaches us that when you come to the check-out of life with no resources and no hope, there is only one name that has power. The name of Jesus. The Bible says that Jesus is the only name whereby we can be saved. Make sure you know that name.
Dr. Charles Lowery is pastor of Hoffmantown Baptist Church, Albuquerque, NM.