A Friend of mine, here in Tucson, AZ, wrote this very thought provoking post that I think all Christians in general and particularly those Followers of Christ who intentionally are trying to live a missional life should read! It give us a perfect example of
"After a week of taking care of a sick and grumpy 2 year old, my dear wife told me to get out of the house for the weekend to relax and recharge. Sunday morning I stopped in at a popular local restaurant to have some food and a little quiet time to process what I've been learning over the weekend. I popped out the ipad and keyboard and began to organize my thoughts by taking some notes.
The restaurant had a hand full of people in the outdoor seating area where I was enjoying the morning breeze. All of the wait staff were friendly with big smiles and even a little bubbly as they had a good time talking to patrons about sporting events and other happenings of the week. The atmosphere was light and very enjoyable. I got lost in my thoughts and a couple hours passed. When I finally became aware of my surrounding again I found it interesting that all of the original patrons were still present, albeit a couple were getting ready to leave. A couple more people had joined and were now eating their food.Then "it" happened. A well dressed lady came waltzing in and was hurriedly looking for a waiter. I was shocked at how she treated the wait staff like her personal servants. Dictating how the tables should be arranged for her church group in a most obnoxious manner. Then other families started arriving, some part of the "church" group and others not, but all were wearing the same type of attire. I assume the churches had let out. I started to leave to make room for more people in the restaurant but decided to stay for the experience. What an experience it was...I was surprised at how demanding this crowd was to the friendly staff. The families and group would order their food often with a unpleasant attitude, and then if the food did not arrive in perfect condition... wow I was embarrassed for these folks. Another aspect I noticed is the apparent lack of interest in anyone else. Sure they were all smiles and giggles toward one another as they shared the latest gossip, but the smiles would fade and the eyes dull when interacting with anyone else.The table closest to me was occupied by three older Christians. They made their religious convictions clear by the load prayer with bowed heads. They were actually some of the more pleasant ones in their interactions with others but I was intrigued by their conversation. I'd like to get some opinions about some of their comments:"Missionaries came to my Sunday school class today... it was heart breaking to hear about all the AIDS, HIV and malaria that they have to deal with in their work. It is obvious that these people have a big heart to even raise their three children in a place like that but I think the real problem is the evil at the top of all these nations, the governments just don't do anything for the people! "Later on the conversation came back to the missionaries and my ears perked up again:"If only the missionaries could impress the Christian ideal into the culture. The people just do not get it. I know its hard for the missionaries to change these cultures..."What do you think about these comments?On with my story though: as the church crowd settled down into their meals I watched the staff. I know they had been busy but they seemed more than just physically tired. They took care of their guest with diligence but they didn't seem to enjoy themselves and the twinkle was gone from their eyes. I hurt for them. I wondered if they were feeling drained like taking care of a sick and grumpy two year old... ; - )As I was finally leaving I decided to pay a compliment to one guy that seemed to have taken the biggest swing in mood. When I arrived he was all smiles and welcomed me with warmth. Then for the last thirty minutes of my visit he had shuffled around with his eyes on the floor as he delivered food. He was collecting the garbage when I walked over to him and said "Man I really appreciated your smile today! " He stopped and looked at me - cracked a smile with the twinkle back in his eyes and said " What's up brother, its good to be seen! Yes sir, its good to be seen!" I have to admit I wasn't prepared for that response. I probably looked like a deer in the headlights as I processed what he said. After an awkward moment I finally said, "Look forward to seeing you next time" and we parted ways.This experience, while not surprising to me anymore is disheartening. I understand John 13:34-35 states that we are to love one another; that the world will know that we are His disciples by the love that we have for one another, but is this what Jesus was talking about?" Willis Loftin
(This blog post was reposted by permission author)
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