27/05/2021 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
As seen in the Village Voice and the HEARTbeat
What do you think of when you see those two words put together? By themselves they mean a great deal, but when you put them together do they represent a mindset that has gone the way of the Dodo bird? Do we look through our judgmental lens before we serve?
Here is a case in point: My father and I visited a high-end automobile dealership together. At the time, I worked in the banking industry and had driven to his house right after work, still in my business suit. My father, who owned his own commercial and residential HVAC company was dressed in soiled work clothes. One could tell by looking at his dark blue work pants and his light blue shirt he was a hands-on working man. Little did most know, he could write a check for any two cars on the lot, all because of his own company’s customer service reputation. A salesman walked out of the main building of this high-line GM dealership, walked past him, and walked up to me. “Can I help you sir?” the man said. I hesitated, looked over his shoulder and yelled at my father, “Hey Dad. Can this guy help you?” He yelled back, “Not now. I’m going to go across the street and buy a Buick.” And he did just that, and paid cash for the car.
Why do we feel like we are an inconvenience to those who earn a salary to serve others? It’s as if the customer exists to serve the business, not the converse. Now let me say not all businesses are like the one described above. You know of those who treat you wonderfully and you frequent them often. Sadly, it’s those stand-out businesses that make those deficient in customer service seem all the more terrible. I believe it all boils down to attitude.
Are we here to serve or be served? A simple question, but one which I will pose from a theological perspective. What is our attitude about helping others? What is our attitude about being cordial to others? We need look no further than to Jesus Himself.
In the time of Jesus, it was the slave or servants that took care of things. But the lowest tasks were always relegated to the Gentile slaves, e.g. washing of the visitors’ feet. No Jew, servant or not, was expected to do this lowly task. But Jesus did! He lowered Himself to a level occupied by the outcast, the slave, the one who would do the dirtiest of the dirtiest tasks.
But in His own words, “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.” If the Creator of the universe can lower Himself to a position of ultimate service to others, then why can’t we?
Go through this week thinking about how we can serve others, with humility, love, and compassion. I tell you, the “hate train” we are seeing today would have a lot less riders if we approach service in the same way as Jesus!