Shopping Cart Theology = Humility

How do you return your shopping cart?
And what does that have to do with one’s faith journey?

This morning I read in a leadership blog by Carey Nieuwolf, “You can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she returns their shopping cart.-Jeff Patterson”

I thought about myself for a moment and “HOW” I return the shopping cart.
Typically – it is a no brainer. You put it where it goes, in the holding tanks spread throughout the parking lot of a commercial establishment.

However, on this particular day it was FREEEEEEZING! And I, of course, did not have on a coat.
I was getting over the flu and didn’t want to be outside more than I needed to be since I was so improperly dressed.
In a quest to make myself have some form of physical movement after being sedentary all week, I parked in the middle of nowhere.
I didn’t think of that being an issue until it came time to put away the shopping cart.

There were no places close by to put it!

What was I to do?

Since there were no other cars around me, I thought, “I can just leave it right here. Someone will be here to get it in a few moments and surely it won’t hit or hurt anything!”

Then I remembered the weather forecasts and how the winds were supposed to be dangerously and uncommonly high that afternoon and evening.

But I was cold.

And after all, I’d been sick!!!!  Shouldn’t I be afforded the luxury of just DUMPING the shopping cart?
Really! People get paid to put up my shopping carts, right?


If I claim to follow Christ . . . which I do . . . (although I don’t claim a lot of the religious baggage that goes along with that in traditional, mainline religions)  . . . then I KNOW BETTER than to dump the cart!

C. S. Lewis said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

Thinking of myself less.
All those statements above – my excuses – were thinking of myself!
Therefore, I KNEW what I needed to do with the cart!

I pushed it back to the bin just as the gentleman who worked for the store was coming out to gather them!
I had turned it around so that it would be in the bin in the same direction as the ones he had already begun to group together to push back in.
He looked up at me in surprise (or humor because that gesture of niceness was causing me to look like an idiot because the cart WOULD NOT COOPERATE)!

But the bottom line is . . . he, with eye contact and sincerity said, “Thank you!”

That reminded me why I do what I do.
And it reminded me why things like putting up shopping carts matter.

It is a simple gesture.
But Mother Theresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Shopping carts are small things, but can matter when done with great love!

Today begins Lent, the 40 days prior to Easter where we, in seeking to follow Christ, look intentionally at ourselves.

We try to weed out the stuff that gets in our way of a oneness with God and we bring in habits that would allow opportunities for a closer engagement with the Divine.

Over the next 40 days, I’ll be posting here to cause us to think about what small things we can eradicate from our lives or add to them so that we might find ways to meditate with and grow closer in the Divine Love/God.

So today . . .  how do you return your shopping cart?

This could be an act of great humility.
Mirroring the humility of one we study who lived 2000+ years ago.

They didn’t have shopping carts back then, but if there were, I imagine Jesus would have always not only returned his, but probably would have gathered everyone elses as well.

On this Ash Wednesday, ponder your shopping cart. Wire Shopping Cart 160L side view_large