Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Toll Booth Servanthood

I am sure many of us have driven up to a drive thru (I know you properly spell it through, but the signs usually read thru) getting ready to order some super delicious meal that is oh so healthy for us, and as we pulled up we were so excited to hear the charming voice over the intercom tell us of the wondrous special they have as we can tell in their voice that this is the most glorious place to work. You haven’t experienced that either? I would say about ninety percent of the time if I go to the drive thru it is because it is late and I haven’t eaten and am too beat to cook or make anything for myself. I drive up in a bit of a funk and I get back the normal one hundred mile per hour, ultra memorized schpeal about some random special they have going on. I go to place my order and I have to repeat is several times because either I am tired and not paying attention to my lack of enunciation or they are just not plugged into the situation mentally. Either way, I muddle through getting my order in, drive up to the window to pay my bill, get my food (which is somehow wrong half the time) and go home to grumble about the whole thing.

It isn’t much better for one of the most boring jobs in the world, in my opinion, a toll booth collector. Goodness, what a joy stealing job that must be. “Fifty cents!” You reach in and hand them a five dollar bill, “You don’t have fifty cents?!?!” As if every creature in God’s kingdom pockets fifty cents at any given moment; No bub, this is 2010 and I barely ever carry cash. I don’t know if you notice the negativity oozing out of both sides of these situations. I have recently caught myself in this and determined to do better with my drive thru experiences.

This experience has also opened my eyes to how I see church being done often times. We come in and respond to each other much like a drive thru transaction. We can slap a smile on our face and call it fellowship, but do we have a drive thru heart? What if someone has a special order? Does that put us out? Don’t think the “customer” doesn’t see that.

About a year or so ago I went to a local restaurant I go to periodically. I know the owner and a few of the waitresses and so I can joke around with them. I ordered a sandwich called the Black Diamond which is an open faced sandwich with roast beef, cole slaw, and topped with Russian dressing. Those are the main ingredients I am sure I am missing a few things, but it is delicious. I ordered, and the waitress came back and said they had just run out of cole slaw. So I said, “Well, just replace the cole slaw with cottage cheese.” She was slightly horrified, but after a bit of convincing she complied. The sandwich came out, and she stood there for a few minutes, in my paranoia I finally asked if I could help her. She just wanted to see if I would actually eat the sandwich, if I would go through with what I said I would.

This is more like it. Do we serve people at all? Do we look through a window throwing the truth at them haphazardly and get it all wrong fifty percent of time? Do we listen to them? Even if what they are saying may sound foreign to us, yet we do what we can to meet need? I am not suggesting compromise, but I am suggesting that we meet people where they are as Christ did when He sat down and listened to some of the most hated people of His time.

How we serve people goes a long way to fulfilling their needs. Do we take careful inventory of what they are seeking and of the struggles they face or are we just throwing something out there hoping we get it right sometimes? Do we care about our”job” or are we just doing it because we feel we have to? Sometimes those whom we serve won’t always come across with a sunshiney demeanor, that doesn’t mean we don’t listen or care, it means we understand they are more than likely hurting.

To a believer, service is a strong desire that burns in our hearts. We want to serve others because we believe by doing so the love that has filled our lives has changed us and because of the profound impact we have seen personally, we want to show it to others so they may have the opportunity to accept it as well if they choose to do so. If we truly believe this, we may find that God will lead us to do some crazy things.

Society has led us to believe that there are people who do not deserve to be “served, “ we as believers know better. There wasn’t a person that Christ ever came across that He was “above” talking to and serving. Go, find those who are not loved no matter how strange their lifestyles may seem. Love them, serve them, show them who God is by your actions, by this we can bring glory to God.

Peace to you.

No comments: