Sunday, March 23, 2014

Your Customer Service Reviews Are In - Lenten Journey Day 16 Devotional - March 22, 2014

“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.” – Ephesians 6:7

While taking a stroll around the Gaslamp Quarter this afternoon, we stopped at a trendy restaurant to grab some lunch.  Our waitress arrived to our table and took our order.  What ensued was a meal strangely missing our server’s presence.  She was far from rude, but it was hard to ignore the lack of attentiveness.  No drink refills.  No “anything else I can do for you?”  The food was great, but the service cast a very mediocre tone on the overall experience.

As we left the restaurant I watched our waitress float around the establishment, oblivious of her own nonchalant attitude.  Her heart was not into what she was doing and I’m sure that was clear to every customer who came in contact with her.

One might think I’m being overly critical of our adorable waitress.  After all, waiting on others is a challenging job….why should I expect her to enjoy serving a bunch of ingrates?!

Honestly, I won’t lose any sleep over her service, but what I did reflect on today is that all of us, as followers of Christ, are servants to others in one shape or form.  In Mark 9:35 Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all."

Serving is what we do – it is a part of our spiritual DNA.

"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” – Mark 10:44-45

Each day people walk into our lives hungry and in need.  Each day God expects certain sacrifices that require us to humble ourselves and give (e.g. emotionally, financially, socially, physically).  In that process, it’s easy to go about our dutiful way serving and giving but completely miss “it” in the same way that waitress missed it today.

We leave our heart out of it.
We check off a box and move on.
It’s not enough just to serve, but serve with a heart of thanks

Think about restaurants that you consider exceptional.   If I were to ask you why you consider them exceptional I’m willing to guess two things would distinguish them from others – food and service.
Well when it comes to the Kingdom of God - the food has already been provided by our Heavenly Father.  The quality of His word and His promises are unquestionable.
The service?  That’s where we come in; that part is up to us, and we play a key role in others returning to  God’s table or turning away.

“As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Peter 4:11

Now before you get into lamenting over the “ingrates” that make it not-so-fun to serve, consider what state we were in when Christ humbled himself and came to serve US.  Even in our rebellious state, Christ chased after us – all the way to the cross – so that we could eat the good of the Kingdom.  We were the most difficult customer eternity could find!  Yet Christ served.

So when we serve, we take on the likeness of Christ.

How cool is that?!  Serving is not an obligation, it’s an honor and a privilege!  We get to be an extension of God’s love to others. 

So how should we respond to this call to serve?

Cheerfully!  God knows the difference, and so do others.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” - 2 Corinthians 9:7

So don’t just give – give with gladness!

Let’s pack the Kingdom with return customers! Standing room only! 

All it takes is for us to focus on learning how to serve others well.

Let’s pray (poem from Jack Watts): “Father, allow me to serve others with a joyful heart; Never keeping score; always giving; never expecting to receive.  Allow me to give of myself, to give of my talents and of my goods, to give of my time and of my energy, to give of my heart and of my soul.

Help me understand the needs of others, never criticizing, never demeaning, never scolding, never condemning.  You have been so gracious to me, always Loving, always forgiving, always restoring: never gloating over my defeats, even when I have been so wrong…Allow me to serve others as You serve, with gentleness, compassion, and tenderness, never diminishing the worth of another, choosing to extend mercy to the brokenhearted,  like You have repeatedly shown it to me.” Amen 

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