24/07/2023 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
Straying from Perfection
As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice
“Straying from Perfection”
I worked at gas station, or should I say service station in my early days of college. My normal tasks were changing oil in cars, mounting and balancing tires, and cleaning out the work bays. But I had to drop whatever I was doing at a moment’s notice when I heard the, “ding-ding” of the alert bell! Remember driving over the small black tube that ran across the entry to the gas pump area? Ding-ding, ding-ding all day long. Talk about work interruptions. Hearing the sound would mean briskly walking out of wherever I was, wiping my hands with my trusty shop towel, and greeting the driver with a smile. “Fill ‘er up with ethyl, son” the driver might say. While the tank was filling, I would clean the windshield, check the tires, and even the oil if requested – all within the time span of the gas tank being filled. It was like being a one-man pit crew. Looking back, I relish the times of serving customers’ needs and then getting them back on the road.
Has the service-oriented business gone the way of the Dodo bird? You may sit in a booth at a restaurant and have a waiter or waitress bring you a glass of water. Your polite response is, “Thank you.” What do you hear in return? “No problem.” No problem? I just want to ask, “No problem? Was it a problem to serve me?” Even a kind, “You’re welcome” would be wonderful to hear.
When Chick-fil-a opened its fast-food restaurants, the owners came up with the idea of responding to a customer’s “Thanks” with “My pleasure!” Finally, a company who gets the idea of customer service. I sometimes throw them off base when they introduce themselves at the table. “Well (waiter/waitress), I’m so glad you’re here today for us.” It gets a surprise look, but then a smile comes across their face, and a connection is made. Perfection!
How did God intend the church to be? If someone serves a visitor a cup of coffee and they receive a thank you, do we respond with, “No problem?” Of course not. We should say, if at least inside with, “My pleasure.” We should count it all blessings when we gather together and serve one another, whether we know each other or not.
The early church shared together, they ate together, they prayed together, and they welcomed new converts into the church. Were they a perfect church? There is no such thing. I’m sure they argued a bit, as family always does. But they were so new to the church thing, the only answer they knew was, “God would have us act or serve each other as if we were serving Jesus Himself.”
The modern-day church has strayed from this premise. Our imperfections are starting to become more apparent. While we can never be perfect, we can return to the 1st century ideals of serving each other with a thankful heart and doing so as if we were serving Jesus Himself. After all, isn’t that what we are supposed to do in the first place?