I was dining out with another person in ministry recently and a couple of things caught my attention that were surprising. Before I tell you what those things were let me say that I do not mean this to be a judgement on my friend, but more of a commentary on what we find normal. Over the course of the meal the server came by at regularly appointed times to take orders and refill drinks. I understand they are there literally to serve, but I found it a bit unsettling to what limit my friend took that definition. The reason that it was unsettling is as Christians we are called to be servants to all. ALL! Even those who are supposed to serve us.
As the meal went on I had to make him aware more than once that the server was standing there asking a question. Now, understand, I am not talking about those pesky managers who come by and interrupt your conversation to find out how you liked your meal. I am referring to hard working servers who are just trying to get you what you asked for when you ordered. Once my guest finally acknowledged the server, the tone they used was very demeaning and dismissive. It broke my heart. I am sure the server was used to that kind of attitude and therein lies the problem. As Christians, how we love and how we serve should stand out from the ordinary. It should show up on people’s radar.
The second thing that caught me by surprise was when it came time to tip. I know everyone has different theories on tipping, but when you are fussing over rounding up or down, the focus may be in the wrong place. I guess I have been trained to be a blessing in every way I can. If those few cents validate a job done well, then giving that blessing cost me very little and offered a great deal.
This attitude of serving extends much farther than restaurant etiquette. I truly believe this is how we as Christians are called to act all the time. Guess what? Even and especially in church! You would be amazed how many stories of rude behavior I hear from people who have visited other churches. I have heard tales that stretch from “you are in my seat” to not even being spoken to at all.
In a day and time when the Church and Christians have lost so much of our effectiveness, can we afford to be so self -focused? We are called to be lights shining into darkness so the whole world can see Jesus. I believe we have that opportunity every time we come into contact with another human being. So, next time you are out, pay attention to those around you and ask yourself how you can be of service. God likes it when we treat others like we want to be treated. I believe He wrote that down for us somewhere.