Mind Your Manners

By Ms. O


Do you ever have those automatic responses…the ones you don’t even think about? You bump into someone…”excuse me”…I smell chocolate…my attention is on high alert…some crazy Houston driver cuts you off in traffic….hmmmm…we won’t go into that…let’s just say…it is just knee jerk reactions.

My office feels like Grand Central Station at times. There seems to be a constant flow of traffic moving through. I could try to tell you it is the stimulating conversation that happens there…but that would be a lie…most times it is random trivial talk. Perhaps if I had comfortable chairs, I could claim that…but mine are cast offs from other rooms in the church that someone did not know what to do with. I know what draws people in…I was not born yesterday…not by a long shot….it’s the candy bowl.


I have this gravitational pull…this tracking beam…that anyone that has ever tasted sugar in their lives…appear in my doorway. Sure, they can pretend they are not coming for that…but their eyes can’t keep from staring at the mound of sugared treats heaped on top of my desk.

Not long ago,  a parent came in with their little one…as in it will be a few years before he is anywhere near old enough to join the youth group. As this little child stared at the bowl,…and I offered in code…as in spelling it out to the mom as to not offer something that would get me in trouble…when  she asked…”what do you say?”. I don’t think she had the word “say” out of her mouth when the little boy said PLEASE. After deciding which candy to pick…which turns into a major undertaking…the mother looked at the child and said again…”well, what do you say?…in which I got a sugary sweet “thank you”. 

We train our kids to say the proper responses. Don’t get me wrong…there is nothing I love more than polite kids….I did the same for mine. It needs to be second nature to be kind and courteous…it is when we carry it into our daily living concerning how we “live with and for God” that we need to be more intentional. 


“I would rather my heart be without words than my words be without heart”…”ouch. As I heard that quote the other night, it struck one of those chords in my soul…the “in your face because it speaks truth” kind of moments. 

How often do we go through the motions…giving God what we “know” what He wants. Maybe it is just me…but I doubt it. I pray…I sing (not great mind you, but I do)…I give my tithes and offering…but has it become so automatic with me that I have lost the reason why I do what I do? 


Give unto the LORD the glory due unto His name; bring an offering, and come before Him; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”

1 Chronicles 16:29


My responses to God cannot be automatic if I want to be authentic. He is the Lord my God and His just due is my reverence. I need to be reminded that doing things out of rote for Him is not pleasing….it is merely learned behavior. He has given me free will…the option to chose Him…..and to offer what I can… to come before Him…and worship Him.  Not just in church on Sunday mornings…or in class on Wednesdays…it means each and every day that is gifted to me. 


Soon we celebrate our Risen Savior….Christ has risen…..He has risen indeed…and I need to acknowledge that…with an attentive spirit….not just the “correct answers.” God, you have Your work cut out for you with me…but I come to you with a willing spirit….and a heart full of love…for You. Amen.