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Who is Serving Whom?

“Hi, my name is Ralph,” our waiter said, “and I’ll be your server this evening.”

That part seemed normal. It has become common for servers to give their names. But then Ralph pulled up a chair and sat down with us. That felt weird! I wondered if I should offer to take his drink order.

He chatted for a while, just getting to know us I suppose, though I’m not sure why. If he knew me at all, he would know this wasn’t helping his tip one bit. It seemed far too chummy. Don’t misunderstand. I’m nice to waiters; I used to be one. But, as a customer, I came to be filled, not befriended.

I wonder how God feels when we treat him like a waiter. We don’t mean to, and we probably don’t realize we’re doing it. But does this seem familiar? “Yes, I’d like four sweet teas, some good health for my children, and my wife and I would like the extra large prosperity. And, could you bring me a side order of some extra leisure time? Thanks.”

It’s easy to forget who is serving whom. Yes, the Scriptures speak of God’s love for us, his mercy and grace, his desire to adopt us as his children, and his intent to treat us as heirs instead of slaves. But he also reminds us occasionally who the server is in this relationship.

Jesus, for example, told a parable about the relationship between master and servant. “Would he (the master) say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’?”

No, that would be strange – like Ralph having a seat at our table. “Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me’?” (Luke 17:7-8). That’s what we expect.

Jesus then makes the point of the parable clear. “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty’” (v. 10).

God is a kind-hearted master. But, he is still the master. And, we are still servants – and unworthy ones at that. Our place is the role of the waiter. Ours is to do “everything you were told to do.” May our attitude be, “Lord, you know my name. I’ll be your server this lifetime. What may I do for you?”


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