serving: Red Letter Challenge

Whatever you think about their stance on social issues, it is hard to deny Chick-fil-A has the serving thing down. With their “my pleasures,” twelve lanes for drive-thru and sauces that make the sandwich and fries almost an afterthought, they are good at what they do. What they do is serve.

When I worked in a restaurant, I didn’t answer every request with a statement of how joyful I was to be serving. I did figure out pretty early on folks come to restaurants because they want an experience. It was my job to help them have one.

This is the heart of serving; meeting the needs of others.

In a restaurant, fast food or otherwise, meeting the needs includes satisfying someone’s hunger and often a desire for community. *cue song… “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.”

I did not realize it while I was pulling doubles and slinging drinks, but the lessons of a restaurant where great training for a life in ministry. Serving, it turns out, takes many forms but they are all about meeting needs.

What may be different is the motivation to serve.

In a restaurant, I served to make money. It was transactional. I certainly grew to care for many of the people who became regulars, but for the most part it was an exchange; my time and attention had a price tag.

As a person of faith, I hope my serving is done with no strings attached. That serving is, and becomes increasingly, relational. Meeting needs not because I am going to get something from those I am serving but because serving is part of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus responds to the disciples jockeying for position with the call to a life of serving.

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
– Matthew 20:25-28

Truth be told, I am definitely more like the disciples than I am like Jesus. This is one of the gifts of Lent. I get to wrestle with all the ways I get this serving thing wrong and with God’s grace I might grow and learn and change.

Less transactional…more relational. Sounds simple when I write it down. So much harder to live it out day after day. I pray for more of the Spirit to help me live as a servant more days than not. Perhaps I too will find myslef ending every sentence with a “my pleasure.”

Life is better together,
Shawn

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