Are we supposed to be a table waiter?

posted in: Ponderings | 0

Are you a table waiter? A couple months ago my daughter began working a part-time job at one of our favorite restaurants. She works mornings for an amazing couple who own the restaurant, then goes to her clinic. It’s been eye-opening to say the least. What’s it like being a table waiter? A server?

My daughter comes home very tired after walking 4-5 miles in her shift. Some people are kind and grateful, others demanding and complaining about everything. Some won’t even wait until a table is cleaned (“bussed”) because they expect immediate service. And then there are the groups that decide they don’t need to tip at all. Part of the “sales” from each server goes to help pay the table busser. All that for $2.50 an hour; her bosses want their servers treated well so they pay nearly 20% more than the industry standard! The assumption is made that tips bring that pay up to $10 an hour. The week that five groups didn’t tip meant the paycheck was $0 because the taxes were more than the pay per hour. That’s tough to swallow. (free photo via pexels)

Let me reiterate that she really enjoys the job (most days), and loves her bosses and the people she sees. But let’s be honest: some days it is very discouraging work.

Could you be a table waiter? A server?

Could you be a table waiter? A server? As Christ-followers, should we be? I can’t help but contrast much of what we see around us today with what Scripture portrays for us. Are we required to be table waiters? Was Christ a table waiter/server? Are there other examples?

Are we required to be table waiters?

Are we required to be table waiters? The Apostle Paul challenged the church of Galatia regarding this very topic. Notice what he said: serve one another through love. God’s kind of unconditional love. Love that doesn’t demand and complain.

13 For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another. 14 For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself. 15 But if you bite and devour one another [in partisan strife], be careful that you [and your whole fellowship] are not consumed by one another. Galatians 5:13-15 (AMP)

Did you catch what he says will happen if we don’t? To bite someone is not what a toddler often does. It is to thwart someone’s growth by wounding their soul. When we do that, we destroy one another.

Christ’s example

Christ’s example shows us how we can do this.

4 Let each of you esteem and look upon and be concerned for not [merely] his own interests, but also each for the interests of others. 5 Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] 6 Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, 7 But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. Philippians 2:4-7 (AMP)

He had every right to strut His stuff; He was one with God! But He didn’t. I’m convicted when I read that He stripped Himself of His privileges and rights. He laid them aside in order to serve us. Humility is involved. Ugh. That’s not appealing, is it? I think of some of the table-waiting stories my daughter tells me; we are often good at demanding our rights. Can we begin to lay them aside so we serve one another in love?

I’m reminded that Christ chose to love me, even when I was more than a little unlovable. He chose to serve me, even on a Roman cross.

How did He do that? First, He was fully committed to His Father and the plan God had. Second, they shared a great love for one another. Third, He knew the joy set before Him when He saw us coming to His Father because of what He had done.

Coworkers with God

Paul says we are coworkers with God; we work in union or partnership with Him.

9 We are God’s coworkers. You are God’s field. You are God’s building. 10 As a skilled and experienced builder, I used the gift that God gave me to lay the foundation {for that building… 1 Corinthians 3:9-10a (GW)

Paul goes on to explain that we serve as table-waiters or coworkers through using the gifts God has given us. That pretty well rules out strutting my stuff. If I’m going to be His partner, my stuff pales in comparison.

Philip’s example to us

We want to be important and significant. We were wired for that when God designed us. We just approach it incorrectly. Honestly, it’s not easy to think that the only way we can be important and significant is by following Christ’s example of laying aside our so-called rights and privileges and humbly serving others through God’s kind of love that is unconditional and undemanding. We want importance and significance via our own natural talents.

Philip is a good reminder that we can be table waiters and still partner with God to accomplish significant ministry.

In the early church, a group of widows was being neglected in the food distribution. It was too much for the leaders to handle the food distribution details and be ready to preach and lead people spiritually. The disciples asked the people to choose seven men who would be given this responsibility. Philip was one of the seven men chosen. (Acts 6:2-5)

The men who were chosen had to be full of the Spirit (of God) and His wisdom. I must be full of God’s Spirit as well; it’s the only way I’m going to be willing to lay aside my perceived rights and privileges and serve, even the ones who are demanding and complaining and the ones who don’t treat me well or who are not loving at all.

But was Philip still used by God to do significant things? Absolutely.

5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. Acts 8:5-6 (NIV)

I’m seeing too much biting and devouring, too much thwarting growth by wounding souls and destroying what God sees in other people. I confess I’ve done my fair share of biting and devouring in the last few years.

Are you and I willing to be table waiters? To serve one another in love?

Takeaways

  1. We can only lay aside our rights and privileges when we realize we are deeply and unconditionally loved by God.
  2. We are most significant and important when others around us see God’s love for them in our words and actions.
  3. God’s law is summed up in one word: love.
  4. God’s gifts to us, used in conjunction with our natural abilities, are given for building each other up, not tearing each other down, hindering growth and wounding souls.

34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34 (NIV)

To be table-waiters for God, we must ask ourselves why this concept challenges us. What do we need to do in order to more fully realize God’s love for us? Why or what is going on that we can’t trust God really loves us. I had to answer those questions; before then, I was pretty consumed with anger and resentment that grew into bitterness.

We also serve because of the joy set before us! Let’s begin to serve and love God’s way. It’s how we change the world.

 

Carol Boggess, author and speaker at A Healing Journey

Carol Boggess © 2020

Rivers – A Journey of Restoration From Broken to Breakthrough and God Sees Broken Hearts

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