For a short period of time, when you are in a restaurant you are a master to your server. How you treat your server says more about you than you think. If you are a Christian, there is one undeniable fact and that is you believe we have a Master in heaven who we are subject to. Think about that for a second.
In Colossians, Paul writes encouragement and letters of instruction to the church in Colossians. Throughout the book, he gives great practical ways to be a true representation of Christ. For today, I want to draw your attention to chapter 4, specifically verse 1. He says that we as masters, are to give our servants that which is just and equal.
Bringing a master to today’s reality
Thankfully, we don’t live in a society with an institution of slavery, but without the organized institution, we have servants still today. The servants might be temporary to their masters, but our society is based on service providers organized by masters. Think I am wrong? Entrepreneurship is one of the most freeing forms of work today, but trust me, we are still servants to our clients.
The relevance of Colossians chapter 4 is not lost on the change of time, we just need to reframe our minds to understand. Let’s continue with the restaurant analogy. When you sit down at your table, we have basically 1 of 2 choices. We can either treat our server with dignity and respect, or we can take out every incident on our server. As a waiter for many years, I can tell you I have seen both.
If the kitchen burns your food, but the server is apologetic and comforting, do we tip well? Does the wait for a table affect your experience prior to seating that you take it out on the server’s ability to wait on you? What if you see the restaurant is full and the staff is under-staffed due to a management decision? Who do you take your frustration out on?
Now give me the secret sauce
If you are feeling convicted with the last paragraph, I completely understand. As a former waiter, even I struggle with being irritated with the only outlet while at an establishment giving me a less than desired experience. But fear not, I have the perfect solution for your frustration and yes, it came straight from the Word.
Paul says to give your servants that which is just and equal. I like to translate this as to put yourself in their shoes and see the entire picture. Once you’ve done that, how would you want to be treated. Going back to the under-staffed scenario, how do you think the server feels? Since I have been there before, I can tell you the situation sucks. Sorry, there is no better way to say that. All shift long, you are constantly behind, dealing with angry customers all the while stressed about the lack of tips you are bringing home.
Last month, Jess and I were in a similar situation. We were at a restaurant that was overbooked and understaffed. The waitress was running around like a chicken with her head cut off. Our drinks were late and our food arrived separately so Jess’ meal was almost done when mine arrived. We had the choice to take it out on the server or reward her for her hard work. I can honestly say this was a discussion.
In the end, we both put ourselves in her place and actually felt sorry for her. We enjoyed our meal and called it an ‘experience’ and made the decision to make her shift better. Opening our eyes to the situation not only allowed us to treat her kindly with a good tip, but also eased our stress of the situation. We realized that we were not victims of the situation and instead treated her with just and equal kindness.
Full disclosure, I am not always that successful at recognizing other’s struggles and treating them equally. It is my hope that Paul’s words stick in my head and I am able to treat all of those that serve me from time to time with just and equal behavior as I am their temporary master.
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