by Janet Holm McHenry
I grew up in a four-story department store. My dad was the assistant manager of Marsh’s in Hudson, New York, and when I swooshed through the revolving front doors, I magically turned into royalty. My dad was the much-loved king in that domain, and I was the princess.
The sales ladies would greet me warmly and usher me into his office presence. After a big hug, Dad would give me a dime, which was enough for a package of cheese and peanut butter crackers and a bottle of Coke. As princess, I was allowed to go into the secret room, also known as the employees’ lunchroom, where I would leave my dime in a bowl in the fridge and find my goodies for my after-school snack.
Truth be told, I didn’t go to the store after school just to get a dime and a snack. I loved hearing the sales ladies speak highly of my dad. “Mr. Holm is the best boss.” “Mr. Holm is so kind.” “Mr. Holm always does the right thing with the customers…and with us. I love working here.” Employees did not come and go at Marsh’s Department Store. They remained there for a career lifetime. I think that has to do with ushering.
When you sweep through the front doors of a business or a home or a school, you want to see that you’re the next best piece of news on the faces of those who are already there. You’re a princess being welcomed back into the kingdom. You’ve been awaited and expected…and when you arrive, it’s a celebration, and you’re ushered right to the throne. (Well, maybe not at the DMV; you might have a bit of a wait.)
So I can do kingdom work here by having a welcoming home and a welcoming smile and welcoming words. Just as my dad couldn’t force people to buy their clothes and furnishings at his store, I cannot force people to make a decision for the faith. But I can do a good job of ushering them into a space and place where they understand something of the love and acceptance of the Savior I serve.
And they won’t even have to put a dime on the counter for a Coke and crackers. They’ll be on the house.
Janet McHenry is the author of 24 books, including PrayerWalk and The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. A writing coach, she hosts the Sierra Valley Writers Retreat several times a year. You can connect with her on various social media and through her website: janetmchenry.com.