By David Weaks
Have you ever been to a restaurant where the employees seem unfriendly and unmotivated? Such a place makes for a very unpleasant dining experience. Sometimes we may get the feeling that our waiter or waitress feels “put out” in serving us. The very idea! Don’t they know that my patronage helps provide for their job security? On the other hand, if you have ever worked in a restaurant, then you probably look at the situation in a different light. I worked in a restaurant for three years and, as a result, I am generally very patient with these people.
When one spends some times working as a waiter or a waitress, he learns very well what it means to be a servant. Very often the customers are disagreeable and impossible to please, and will expect your undivided attention, regardless of how many other customers you may be serving. How discouraging it is to be waiting on ten different tables during the “dinner rush,” and have one customer storm out because he wasn’t served quickly enough I Sometimes it is difficult to wear a bright smile, and echo the phrase, “The customer is always right!”
A person who takes a job as a waiter or a waitress does not serve customers for glory, honor, or recognition, but rather because the job requires it. When one provides a customer with good service, it is done out of duty. Jesus illustrated this in Luke 17:10 with the lesson of the servant, “Even so ye also, when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it is our duty to do.”
How many of us have really learned what it means to be a servant? How difficult it is to learn that lesson! It is so much easier to be on the receiving end of service, than to be the server. Have you ever heard someone say, “I just don’t seem to get anything out of services anymore”? These people seem to have forgotten that the whole idea is to serve the Lord, rather than to be served by him (Josh. 24:14-15; Lk. 4:8).
We often find it difficult to serve the Lord properly; how much more so, our neighbor? In Luke 10:27ff the Lord gives us an explicit example of our obligation to our neighbor. Truly the Samaritan man looked upon himself as a servant, and demonstrated that type of a spirit. Ali too often I am afraid that we are too proud to stoop to that level of humility. Let us not forget that the Lord is not pleased with that kind of pride (Jas. 4:6). A true servant is a person who has the ability to put away feelings of pride, and do the job that is required. A servant realizes that pride very often causes one to stumble (Prov. 16:18); therefore, he will have no part of it.
Our Lord has provided for us a perfect example of a servant, and all we need to do is look to him. Would you be willing to wash your guests’ feet before dinner? The Lord did that (Jn. 13:14-16)! Are you willing to seek out the seat of least honor at a celebration? Jesus taught us to do that (Lk. 14:7-11)! Would you be willing to give up your highly exalted position and home, just to be a servant to mankind? Jesus even did that (Phil. 2:5-1 I)l Jesus was a servant to the end, “even the death on the cross” (2:8).
If we are ever going to be the kind of people the Lord wants us to be, we must learn to be servants. Jesus beseeches us to “learn i of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt. 11:29). If we are able to thoroughly learn this quality of Jesus, we will be able to truly “submit to one another in the fear of the Lord” (Eph. 5:21).
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 23, p. 712
December 7, 1989