And let us not grow weary of doing good… (Gal. 6:9a).

“Would you happen to know where the water chestnuts are?”

A man’s voice startled me as I fully focused on a shelf of cereal.

I turned to see an elderly man bent slightly as he stood behind his shopping cart, only a few feet away. “Um, let me think…”

In truth, what I was really thinking was, This man doesn’t strike me as one who’d have water chestnuts on his shopping list.

“I think they may be several aisles over, in ethnic foods.” (After all, who am I to judge?)

I led. He followed. Scanning the shelves, I located them near the floor. “There they are.”

“Oh yes,” he replied, picking up a can to read the label more carefully. I turned to walk away. “Thank you,” he almost shouted.

“You’re welcome.”

As I turned the corner, I heard —

Be the answer.


Be the answer.

I was still pondering these three words and their meaning when I got in line behind a woman who was checking out. The cashier turned to me. “It may be awhile,” she said. “I have to both ring up and bag the groceries.”

Without hesitation, “Oh, I can do that.”

I walked to the end of the counter and began putting the customer’s purchases in plastic bags. She joined me, saying with a weary smile, “I’ll help.”

Strangers standing side by side, we bagged food until the last loaf of bread was carefully placed in her cart. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

Then, I heard it again —

Be the answer.

My turn to check out, I bagged my groceries as they were scanned, then paid.

“Thank you for helping me,” the cashier said.

“You’re welcome.”

Once more —

Be the answer.

I left the store, these words echoing in my mind as I drove away, and I pondered how often I must miss being the answer. Too busy. Not listening or paying close enough attention. Too lost in my own thoughts.

Makes me wonder what God sees from His heavenly perspective. What He hears.

Perhaps it’s a man planning a special dinner for his sick wife, knowing it might be her last birthday. He’s never purchased water chestnuts before and, likely, he never will again. But they’re in her favorite recipe, and he needs to find them.

Be the answer.

Perhaps it’s a weary woman buying groceries for her family, despite back pain and fatigue. All she wants is to sit down. I hope this grocery trip will be quick and uneventful.

Be the answer.

Or maybe it’s a cashier who’s a new employee — who doesn’t know her co-workers and isn’t yet comfortable asking for help. She’s known to be slow, and complaints have been made. Her job’s on the line. Dear Jesus, help me do my best today

Be the answer.

I promise — almost without fail, when we say “yes” and offer help, we’re the ones who are blessed, because being kind brings happiness.

And our joy bubbles over in thankfulness to God, as we proclaim to Him, “Thank you.”

I think He smiles, taking delight in the irony.

“You’re welcome.”