Praying At The Restaurant
We spoke yesterday of a battle – of going to war against our narcissistic self. The Scriptures portray this as a death. We must learn to “die to self.” And this battle is played out in the most ordinary of circumstances.
I recently heard a comedian say that he judges the potential of all of his business relationships based upon how the person who is courting his skills treats the waitstaff. I believe him to be, after listening to his comedy sketch, a committed agnostic. But his point is as Christian as they come. He went on to say, “I will judge you based upon how you treat the least of these.” Does that sound like anyone in Scripture we’ve run into this year? He took the words right out of Jesus’ mouth.
It reminded me of a moment from my youth when I was being treated to lunch by a very wealthy man and a respected member of his church. Something about the timing of his order, or the food, was not to his satisfaction and he gave the young waitress an angry earful. Then we prayed over our meal. This was not a one-off. I had occasion to share a few meals with him over the years. He seemed to enjoy working out his aggressions on minimum wage waitstaff. I cringed. I had neither the vernacular nor the spine to challenge him back in the day. I regret not having done so. He’s long gone. I’m not to judge his present whereabouts. But sometimes I wonder if that sort of damaged ego slips into heaven with their britches smoking. We’re told that the streets there are made of gold. Perhaps he’s a street sweeper.
Anyway…it is the little tests of life that summon the worst in us and tell us the most about our spiritual health. And when we feel our indignation rising over some slight, something that doesn’t bend to our taste or convenience, we need to realize that this is the battle. The moment we signed up for heaven we also surrendered our rights to be a despot. We are servants. We are crucified with Christ. We must do practice runs of dying before we die or we may be in for a nasty surprise. And if you can’t manage any of what I’ve just said, then for Christ’s sake (literally) – don’t pray over your meal in public.