There was a young man who worked in the produce section of a supermarket. One day, a woman approached him and asked him how much half a head of lettuce cost. The man explained the store didn’t sell heads of lettuce by the half—that she’d have to purchase a full head of lettuce.
The woman insisted she only needed half a head of lettuce, and said it would be a waste of both food and her money were she forced to purchase a full head of lettuce. The grocery worker tried his best, unsuccessfully, to dissuade the woman when finally, out of exasperation, he takes a large, fresh head of lettuce, goes over to the meat area, takes a large butcher’s knife, and brings it down sharply and forcefully, perfectly chopping the head of lettuce in half.
Just then, his boss, the store manager, steps in from a back room and, seeing the head of lettuce cut in half, asks the young man what he’s doing.
The man responds, “Oh, some pushy, cranky, obnoxious woman insisted I sell her just a half head of lettuce.” As he’s speaking, he can see from his boss’s eyes, the woman is actually BEHIND him, and has heard every word he said. Without missing a beat, he gestures to the woman behind and him and continues, “And this sweet, delightful woman graciously agreed to purchase the other half.”
The woman leaves with her half head of lettuce and the store manager praises the young man for his obvious quick thinking. “Where did you learn to think so fast?” the still-impressed manager asks his young employee. The man replies, “I learned to think fast growing up in Pennsylvania—home of great hockey teams and funny looking women!”
Suddenly, the smile on the manager’s face turns to a scowl, as he clears his throat and says, “My WIFE is from Pennsylvania!” Again, without missing a beat, the young man says, “Which team did she play for?”
This young grocery store worker may take the top prize for the world’s fastest thinker with those two responses.
You know the Bible has much to say about our words, and how we use them. A few verses that come immediately to mind would include Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” This young man was not only ready with answers for both the woman and his boss, but was able to do so in a gracious manner. Sometimes it’s not just about being right or what you say, but how you say it. Think about it, are our words SEASONED that others might be more RECEPTIVE to what we say?
And 1 Peter 3:15 also comes to mind, where we read we are to, “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” This young man was very much ready with an answer for a woman who wanted to buy half a head of lettuce—and he deserved the praise of his boss for his readiness. But how much more should WE be ready at ALL times—in season and out of season as we read in 2nd Timothy—when answering people about eternal matters.
And finally Proverbs 25:11 comes to mind, which tells us that, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Again, this young man certainly demonstrated the ability to find a fitly spoken word appropriate to the situation.
May we learn what this young grocery store worker knew—to be always ready to give an answer for the hope within us, that our words be seasoned, and filled with grace, and that we might always have an appropriate word—a “fitly spoken” word—to give to a needy world.
Because while people indeed need their groceries, clothing, shelter, and other necessities of this life, ultimately, people need the Lord.