Have you ever returned an over ripe watermelon to the grocery store? Well, I have more than I care to mention. Just recently, as a matter of fact.
When I arrived at the store, I took out two large trash bags, each filled with half of the watermelon. I placed each one in a shopping cart that was just a few feet away.
Since I was parked at the back side of the store, I used the side door entrance instead of walking all the way up to the front door.
On my way to customer service, I decided to pick up a few items along the way instead of coming all the way back through the store. Made sense right?
Wrong, or at least that is how one of the employees felt about it.
“Ma’am, ma’am, is that a watermelon you have there?” asked a man dressed in the store’s attire as he walked up next to my basket.
“Yes,” I responded.
“You are supposed to take it to customer service first.” He was serious about the store policy or custom.
I thought this is interesting. So, what is up with the questions? It was obvious it was two watermelon halves.
He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a small wallet. He started searching through the cards in his wallet. I was not sure if the “watermelon police” was going to give me a ticket or a return sticker. So I giggled.
“Ma’am, I don’t want you to get in trouble because someone might think that you took it.”
I thought I would have some fun.
“Humm,” So you mean that someone might think that I took out a knife and cut the watermelon up in the store?
I thought to myself again. That would mean that I had to go all the way up to the front of the store. Come inside, cut up this large watermelon with a large kitchen knife. Then, go to the bag aisle and open the box. Pull out two bags, place each one in a separate bag and them shop for all the items in my cart.
After he did not find what he was looking for, he placed his wallet back in his shirt pocket. “When you get to customer service, tell them that I sent you.”
No matter how silly that I thought it was, that was the stores’ policy.
In Biblical times, policies and customs were nothing to giggle at. Understanding them meant having what they wanted sooner or waiting over 14 years later to get it. The book of Genesis describes what ended up as a very costly love story because of that very reason.
16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
17 Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel had a lovely figure and was beautiful.
18 Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.”
19 Laban said, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.”
20 So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.
On Jacob’s honeymoon, when the lights were off, Laban sneaked in Leah instead of Rachel. The next morning, Jacob was mad when he found out that he had been with Leah and not Rachel.
Because Jacob was not familiar with the customs of the people, he did not know that the older sister had to be married off first.
Laban told Jacob, not to get mad at him because he did not take the time to find out about their customs and policies of their family. Laban assured him that he could have Rachel too after the wedding celebration in a week. However, Jacob would have to work another seven years for her.
God too has a very strict, “No Sin Policy” that is enforced every day. His desire for us is to live free from sin and the consequences of sin. The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, describes what ended up as a very costly love story because of His love for us. Jesus had to pay the ultimate price for us to receive forgiveness for our sins because He counted us worth the wait.
So, the next time you return a watermelon, don’t make any pit stops along the way or you might encounter the “watermelon police” too.