Recently, I received a five-page letter from an area waitress who is part of Willow Creek. Before becoming a Christian, I learned, she waited tables at a restaurant where many of us would eat after weekend services - and where Christians from other churches would hang out as well.That is great advice that I need to take to heart. If I can begin to see each person as a divinely appointed Christ-encounter, then I suspect that more people with whom I come into contact will come to know Jesus.
"Please let me convey a few things about Christians from a non-Christian waiter's perspective," her letter began. "It's quite well-known among waitstaff that when tables of Christians get seated in your section, it will be anything but a positive experience. Christians are demanding. They tend to stay at tables for a long time. They often try and push literature. And they rarely tip generously." . . .
Her letter continued as my mind trailed off, dismayed over the indictment. She explained that the waitresses she worked with had finally landed on a rotation schedule so that a particular server wouldn't always get "stuck with the Christians." Five pages later, I reminded myself that this letter was penned by a woman right inside of our community. What does this say about Christ-followers when we neglect something so basic as treating a server with kindness, respect, and gratitude? I wondered.
How easily we forget that every person we come across is a person God loves. A person God has put in our path for us to be respectful toward. . . . Someone for us to serve by behaving with a Grander Vision Living attitude: "If you are scrambling and don't have time to refill my coffee cup just yet, don't worry about it. I can wait. I would be happy to wait, in fact." This should be our attitude, because last time I checked, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. . . .
I have a phrase that I communicate to servers on a frequent basis: "You have served me well." And when I find myself in the same restaurant consistently, after I tell them again and again that they have served me well, I typically add, "And if there is any way I can server you, please let me know."
I would love it if I my fellow Christians and I were so well known for our kindness and generosity to those who serve us that I begin hearing, "Thanks for the tip. Are you by any chance a Christian?"