After picking up my health food, I had settled into a swiftly moving line when I realized with horror that my cashier was talking to the customers. I strained to hear if our teenaged cashier was calling for someone to tell him whether Cajun style black-eyed peas cost the same as regular black-eyed peas. What I heard was shocking. My cashier was talking to the customers as if we were people.
"These are the best pizzas. I bet you just got off work."
"It must be hard to work all day and then make dinner. What do you do?"
"I'm a legal secretary."
"Is it like 'The Practice'?"
Not only was he talking to the customers, but they seemed to be enjoying it.
"Who are the flowers for?"
"How long have you been married?"
"I can't imagine me staying three weeks with the same girl. Neither can any girl I know."
I wondered what comments my purchases would evoke: "Coke, Fritos and tennis balls. You must be on a fitness kick."
"I'm glad it shows."
This cashier doesn't know the rules. Friendliness is usually limited to "Did you find everything?" Most cashiers and customers keep their heads down, make no eye contact and transact their business as impersonally as possible. Why was this cashier interested enough to ask questions? Maybe he was new. Maybe in a month he will keep his head down and make no eye contact. Or maybe he has learned that our attitude toward people makes a difference in our own hearts.
Malachi wrote that our covenant with God is part of our covenants with one another: "Why do we profane the covenant of our fathers by breaking faith with one another?" (v.10).
To ensure true instruction (Malachi 2:1-9)
The tribe of Levi made a covenant to teach God's truth. God took that promise seriously enough to speak of sweeping the priests out with the manure left over from the sacrifices, for "the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge" (v. 7). In the church, we also have promised to share what we learn.
To keep faith with God and with others (Malachi 2:10-12)
Malachi calls on the people to treat those who share the covenant as children of God. God wants us to care for all people, but imagine the ways in which we could change our society if Christians treated other Christians as family.
To protect the sacredness of marriage (Malachi 2:13-16).
In a throwaway society we treat everything--even people--as temporary. The practice of divorce was prevalent in Malachi's day as well as our own. God hates divorce (v. 16), because God values people and our covenants. When two people make a commitment to one another, God shares in that covenant.
Malachi and my favorite cashier think we should care more for the people around us. We love God as we love one another.
Verses referenced: Malachi 2:1-16