Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bib or Apron?

In 1999, I started a three year position as a waitress at a restaurant. For those who've never been a waiter/waitress, I highly recommend it.

It's often a thankless job - screaming children, spilled milk, angry customers, getting blamed for a steak too well done or not done enough, drunken patrons getting into fights, large groups coming in without warning and leaving little or no tip.

It also has it's perks - serving others, getting to know the regulars, sharing in the joys of patrons, sharing in their times of sorrow. 

One would think that after a long week filled with long hours of working in a restaurant, the last place one would want to be on their day off would be at this restaurant. And yet, that's where many of us ended up on our days off. Why? Because sometimes it's just nice to be served. And having worked at the restaurant, it taught me to appreciate those who do serve us (in other words - leave your server a good tip! It's not an easy job). 

"Bibs & Aprons

Bibs are for people who only want to be fed.
Bibs are for those who are not yet ready or willing to feed themselves.
Bibs are for those who are more interested in being served than in serving.
Bibs are for those who insist that the church exists for them and their needs.
Bibs are for babes in the faith, those who haven’t caught God’s vision for the church, or those who are not yet of the faith.

Aprons are for those who have a heart to serve others in Jesus’ name.
Aprons are for those who know that they are the church.
Aprons are for those who don’t mind getting their hands dirty.
Aprons are for those who take the time daily to feed their spiritual hunger.
Aprons are for those who are growing in faith, and hunger to help others grow."
(taken from http://offerthemchrist.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/bibs-aprons/)
I recently stumbled on the above quote and it reminded me of when I worked at this job. It reminded me of those who insisted they always be served - those whom I could tell had never lifted a finger to serve another person. It reminded me of those who consistently served others, never asking for anything in return. And it reminded me of those who got so burnt out from serving others because they forgot to let themselves be served every now and then.

Life in the Church... and as the Church...

In my opinion, life in (and as) the Church is the same way.

 I'll be the first to admit that up until a couple years ago, I figured if a Church could not feed me (or any other person sitting in those pews), it wasn't doing it's job. I figured it was the Pastor's responsibility to feed me. And, I figured pretty much every church failed at this. I never saw the Church as the Body of Christ, all working together to serve. I never saw myself as part of that body. It was just a building which failed at meeting my needs.

And, I will also be the first to admit that there are times (such as the past couple weeks) when I still feel it is the responsibility of the Church and pastor to do this feeding. There are times in all our lives when we feel we just can't serve others any more. We're burnt out, tired, angry, frustrated, grieving, depressed, exhausted, and more. We need to sit down and let someone else serve us.

But the rest of the time? We should be serving. We've been called on to serve. We've been called on to be the Church - not to just be a hungry person sitting in a pew waiting for someone else to feed us. When all we do week in and week out is sit there, a bib around our neck, waiting for someone else to feed us, we will never truly be fed. Yes, there are times we need this help, but it should not and cannot be a constant expectation.

So rip off the bib, don the apron, and go feed others. Open your Bible, immerse yourself in prayer, and feed yourself. Recognize that most often, the surest way to feed your hunger is to serve others in the name of Christ (and hopefully that hunger never goes away. It's a great kind of hunger.)

God bless!

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