A waiter’s job is to take orders and serve food to customers in a restaurant. However, the importance of a waiter goes beyond just serving food. They are responsible for ensuring that customers have a pleasant dining experience by providing excellent customer service to meet the orders made by the customers. In the Bible, John 12:26 states that anyone who wants to serve Jesus must follow Him and be ready to serve at a moment’s notice. This means that being a waiter is not just about being present, but also about being serviceable and following instructions.
We had gone into a restaurant in Kumasi, and the waiter brought us the menu, but almost everything we had ordered initially was not available. He then pointed out a few menu items, and we all opted for a particular one. However, when he returned a few minutes later, he brought something else and told us to make do with that. This incident made me reflect on how many times we purport to be serving Christ but not following His instructions. We seem to have our own agenda and how we want things to pan out. We have our own prescriptions and game plan, yet we come to Him and say ‘We are waiting on You, just at Your service’. Then when His choices as to what He requires of us are made, we laugh them off and tell Him ‘not at the moment’.
Being a waiter is not enough if you cannot provide what the customer needs. Similarly, being a Christian is not enough if we do not follow through with the instructions of Christ. Jesus says the Father will honour and reward those who serve (working according to instructions), not those who are just present. Yes, God’s first interest is in our availability, but what good is a person when they are available but not serviceable? Our availability must translate into following through with what the Master requires of us. Without that, our availability is just ‘much ado about nothing’ and pain to the Master who requires work done for honour and rewards. In order to be a good waiter, one must have a good knowledge of the menu, be quick to take orders, and have good timing of orders. Similarly, in order to be a good Christian, we must have a good knowledge of the Bible, be quick to obey God’s commands, and have good timing in carrying out His instructions. Taking an order is a skilful art that reflects the efficiency and standard of both the waiter and the establishment. Similarly, following Christ’s instructions is a skilful art that reflects our faithfulness and standard as Christians.
In a biblical narrative, the story is told of a messenger who runs without a message (2 Samuel 18). His delight was just in being present and not in presenting anything of value (2 Samuel 18:22–23). Many of us rush and scheme to be given mandates, and when the eyes of authorities catch us, we fail woefully not because we were incapable but because we relented or had our own ulterior motives all the time we were clamouring for the opportunity.
When this empty messenger arrived, King David had just asked that he step aside when it turned out he had just run (2 Samuel 18:20). Note, running is not just; you may ask Usain Bolt. But if it is done without purpose, without benefit, it becomes unprofitable (1 Corinthians 9:26–27). Anything we do for Christ or the Church, which is not borne out of the service of following through with the commands of God, is just futile.
The servant with the hidden talent laboured tirelessly but fruitlessly. He worked hard at digging and perhaps being watchful that no one tampered with the hidden treasure over the period. He had a lengthier narrative than all others to explain his motive, but as long as it violated following the master’s instruction, his efforts amounted to cos 90° – he had no rewards (Matthew 25:26–29).
Once Joab, the commander of Israel’s troops, had clearly induced a soldier to violate the orders of the king. The soldier had remarked that he heard the instructions of the king and was willing to carry through the order more than any other thing (2 Samuel 18:13). Even when others want to circumvent things for their own benefit, the servant must learn to do the bidding of the Master.
Our calling as Christians is not just ‘Come,’ but ‘Come, Follow Me’ (Matthew 4:19, NIV). The requirement for service is faithfulness (2 Corinthians 4:2). Let us strive not only to be good but faithful servants. Following Christ is faithfulness. As Christians, we must strive not only to be good but faithful servants. Following Christ is faithfulness, and faithfulness is always towards another.
A waiter must serve what is ordered and not what they delight.
Charis, Agape, Shalom, Hallel
Written by Pastor George Osei-Asiedu