Sustenance for The Spirit
From the title, you might think this post is going to be about tennis. Unfortunately, the service I’m going to address does not involve a ball and racket, and is far from green courts and cute white skirts and sweaters. However, it does involve a uniform. The other day I drove through Chick-Fil-A, since I had an out-of-town appointment, and therefore had the opportunity for waffle fries. I was once again amazed at the literal “machine” of workers, cones, signs, etc. taking each customer’s order and money, guiding us through the appropriate lines, and in relative speediness getting our meal to us and on our way, without colliding with another vehicle, while remaining in a pleasant mood. Truly amazing when you see the traffic in a Chick-Fil-A around lunchtime.
Back to the uniform. I believe the girl’s name was Courtney, and I have never seen a person with so much paraphernalia hanging on their body. She donned the required Chick-Fil-A uniform. This included the wide billed hat, since she was a designated outdoor worker. There were others with the same look, but no one had as many gadgets as Courtney. On her uniform was her neon safety vest, made to be extra cool thankfully, her walkie-talkie, her fanny pack housing cash in bills and probably other important items, her coin holder for making change in coins (which was a little hard to maneuver in plastic gloves that were a little big for her thin fingers) and a blue towel. The blue towel was important, as she explained when I remarked on how many different things she had on her person. She was especially grateful for the blue towel because it could be put into the ice chest at some point, and was specially made to keep them cool. Bless her pea-pickin’ ginormous heart.
I left excited about my waffle fries, and thinking about Courtney. She embodied the idea of a servant heart. She had an unwavering desire to do her job, and did it without complaint, in fact with an attitude of gratitude for the small thing that someone else was providing for her well-being. Service often weighs us down. It adds to our rather full plate. Service is not for the weak. You must juggle various jobs with a smile. Your heart must be thankful even in the midst of stress or personal distress. I don’t know if Courtney was trained for her job, but I suspect she probably came to the job with a servant heart, cultivated over the sixteen or so years prior to her Chick-Fil-A employment.
In the New Testament, Paul gives Timothy some servant cultivating advice, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) What better way to cultivate a servant heart than to read, learn and absorb scripture? It doesn’t happen overnight. We have to overcome self to convey a servant heart, and that’s not easy in a self-serving culture.
Also, we have a perfect example in Jesus. “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:5–8, NIV)
The Chick-Fil-A girl was not particularly attractive with all her gadgets and gizmos, not on the outside, the world view. But, I was once again reminded of what is most important. We are on this earth to be servants. “…and whoever wants to be first must be your slave — ” (Matthew 20:27) We get so enamored with appearance, self, appetites and desires. It was good to see a physical representation of the servant heart Jesus displayed and taught. His ministry brought us what love in action was supposed to look like. I have a feeling it looked a lot like the Chick-Fil-A server, loaded down but grateful, giving time and effort at the expense of personal comfort, and attending to one customer after another in the hot midday sun with a cheerful voice. I ended up being thankful for a lot more than my waffle fries. Enjoy serving today with renewed cheer and gratitude. Have a great day!