I’ve never worked as a waiter, but I imagine service jobs like that are some of the toughest. I remember working customer service as a teenager, and nothing angered me more than being mistreated by the very people I was there to assist. Fortunately, it was rare, but I remember those encounters vividly. One individual showed me no respect, even though I gave him the answer he sought. He obviously despised my youth and said abruptly, “Let me talk to someone who knows what they are talking about.” That kind of comment would ruin my day. So, one of my superiors took over the conversation, only to give the man the same answer (after retrieving it from a brochure). There’s nothing more aggravating for me than to serve arrogant and ungrateful people.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, that he should betray Jesus. 3 Because Jesus knew that the Father had handed all things over to him, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, 4 he got up from the meal, removed his outer clothes, took a towel and tied it around himself. 5 He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel he had wrapped around himself. –John 13:2-5
Have you ever considered that Jesus washed the feet of Judas? Keep in mind, Christ knew for certain the state of Judas’ heart and his inevitable betrayal. I personally find this stunning.
Often, I serve for a particular outcome (from either God or man), like a form of manipulation. I expect fruitful results: favors in return, some type of life change on the part of the other person, or at the very least appreciation. And when I don’t get it, when people mistreat me or reject me or respond in pride and ungratefulness, my flesh is quick to dissipate any desire to continue.
Perhaps you have heard this profound quote before: “The true test of a servant is how you respond when treated like one.”
How deceptive is our sin that leaks out from our flesh in subversive ways. It often corrupts our righteous works with pride, turning good deeds into filthy rags (Isa 64:6) and altars of worship into exposures of our nakedness (Exo 20:26). For even man’s greatest works done to glorify himself are too minuscule to see from Heaven (Gen 11:5) and do nothing to shrink the monstrous gap between him and the glory of God (Rom 3:23).
Yet Jesus did not just say “love your enemies” (Mat 5:44) and repay evil with good (1Th 5:15; Rom 12:21), but lived it out sacrificially, remaining faithful on that bloody cross even as those He died for laughed and mocked Him (Mat 27:39-44). Yet He did not revile in return but trusted Himself to the one who judges justly (1Pe 2:23).
Thus, may we consider our own motives as we seek to serve like Christ. May we prove ourselves true servants, remaining undeterred when we receive ungrateful attitudes and abuse in return. May we walk before our Lord in complete submission to His will and exaltation, giving no thought to the views and reactions of men.