Surviving Black Friday

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I recently started working at Kohl’s for some extra “holiday money”. It is a simple job of unloading the trucks and organizing the boxes: something I am fully capable of handling and can excel at pretty quickly. Already, they have seen my dedication to working hard and doing all I can to be helpful. I have even overheard a manager say “he’s really good and he’s very nice”.

Now, I am not saying this to pat myself on the back, but rather, when I started I decided to try to have a good attitude about taking a job that seemed very far from what I considered to be what I was “called” to do. But after praying about it for a few days, I realized that this was a perfect opportunity to display what the love and power of Christ can do through me in such a random place as Kohl’s.

And then comes Black Friday.

Everyone who works at Kohl’s has been talking about how insane and difficult this time of year is, and that nothing short of chaos that will descend upon all of us who work those dreaded 36 hours straight (From 6pm Thanksgiving Day until 12 midnight on Saturday). I was placed on the first shift, doors opening till 2am. They had placed me in the Toy section, and I had to wear a red shirt with black pants (I almost decided to wear a santa hat to act like an elf…) The dreaded day had arrived, and I was feeling a bit anxious, especially when I arrived 30 minutes early and saw a parking lot full and a line of people wrapping the building.

I had made up my mind that I would just “press in” and have a pleasant attitude. I prayed before I went in and asked the Lord to be with me and help me be a light. Well, I must say that God showed up. I was able to keep an extremely positive attitude. Not only that, but I was in that Toy section being so helpful that I could hardly believe how well I was doing finding extremely obscure items with ease, making the customers laugh, smile and feel loved. The manager of that section was able to have a better flow with restocking because I came in and managed the floor.

As I was getting in the car to drive home that night, the song “Flood Waters” by Josh Garrels was playing and these lyrics stood out to me so clearly in that moment. “Flood Waters rise, but it wont wash away. Love never dies, it will hold on all things through Grace”. It was in that moment that I realized that the Love of God in us, especially we who are called to be ministers, is really a Love that reveals the nature and character of God in all situations, even the dreaded Black Friday, when customers were pushing around a store, frantically grabbing for material goods, verbally expressing disappointments, and being insanely rude to both fellow shoppers and employees.

My experience of surviving this madness they call Black Friday was given life by the source of Life in me. The Holy Spirit empowered me by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and all of it was to bring glory to God the Father, whose love is for each and every person in that store that very night.

What a lesson my Good, Good Father taught me. I pray that I continue to learn the rhythms of Grace in all the situations in which I find myself, and I hope that my heart and mind continue to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. Amen.

Andrew Eberhart is a regular contributor to the Soul Care Collective.
Image attribution: Kikovic / Thinkstock

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Andrew is a MDiv student at Asbury Theological Seminary and a member of the Offerings Community of First UMC Lexington. He is pursuing ordination in the Lexington District of the Kentucky Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is a graduate of the Healing Academy and specializes in the areas of Spiritual Formation and Prayer Ministry. His wife, Elizabeth Eberhart, works in the office of Community Formation at Asbury Seminary. They have two beautiful children: Emma Grace, 6 and Noah Thomas, 4. Andrew is passionate about all things monastic and regularly visits the Abbey of Gethsemani in Trappist, KY. He also goes by the alias “hobbit.monk,” which combines his two passions: Tolkien and the monastic.

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