The most important six seconds of the day

It might only take six seconds to change the day for you and someone else.

Here in Starbucks, I was quietly doing some reading when a woman walked near my table to ask the barista for more sugar. She had a couple of coffees she needed to doctor up. The barista helped her, and she got to work on her coffees. A minute later she returned, this time with an empty half-and-half container. (One might wonder about this particular Starbucks.) The woman laughed apologetically and held up the container. The barista thanked her and walked a full container over to the condiment station. He said something about how this was milk, and it would take him a few seconds to bring a new half-and-half container out. The woman getting the coffees said, "Oh it's okay. These are just for some painters. They'll take anything."

The comment caught my attention. "These are just for some painters. They'll take anything."

She could have said, "I'll wait. These are for some painters, and I want the best you have for them." How long would that have taken? Just another minute.

It's the little things that make the difference between half-hearted gestures of kindness and fully invested acts of love. It was kind of the woman to get coffee for the painters. It would have been loving to insist that they get the very best.

It's the little things that make the difference. And often the little things only take just a few seconds.

A little later another woman was going out the door with a stroller. She was pushing the door with one hand and the stroller with the other. A man sitting by the door jumped up and held the door for her. How long did that take him? Maybe six seconds. It may have been the most important six seconds of the day for both of them. And what if it had taken more? How many seconds are worth investing?

"Whatever you have done for the least of these you have done for me." (Matt 25:40)


  1. Amen. The other day when I stopped in at a Starbuck's (not my preferred choice mind you, and I never do drive-thru as it's too impersonal) I noticed an "outdoor neighbor" holding his sign while sitting in his wheelchair. I went over and asked if he'd like to share breakfast and coffee with me, he said "Sure." I got us our faire, grabbed a chair and sat with him. He had positioned himself strategically at the drive-thru exit. Michael has cerebral palsy and two daughters he is raising by himself. Left him with some cash, but I suspect it was the co conversation he appreciated the most. He told me God blesses him every day, he blessed me. My friend Steve Adams calls this a sacred intersection. It's good to linger at the crossroads. }:-


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