March 13, 2016
…and God Smiled
All fourth-year people in my EfM (Education for Ministry) group are now reading from Timothy F. Sedgwick’s book “The Christian Moral Life: Practices in Piety”. It is a pretty “heady” book, and a challenge to read (and digest) two chapters each week. All too often I catch myself mentally glazed over as my eyes slide along from word to word, unsure whether or not I am actually grasping any meaning. And then, suddenly, I will read something that will cause me to stop dead in my tracks as my mind starts to connect the dots…
“The experience of God is such that what we do is not in order to win favor with God. Instead, what we do is an expression of our relationship with God.” (pg. 79)
Earlier this week I was dining at Chick-fil-a. A tour bus had just descended upon the restaurant, so the staff was quite busy trying to deliver orders to seated guests. A young staff lady was walking briskly towards a family near the back when she slowed suddenly, causing a container of waffle fries to slide effortlessly off her tray and tumble to the floor. She set the tray down, quickly picked up the fallen container and a few of the scattered fries, tossed them out, and came back shortly with some new fries. After delivering the order, she hustled back to serve other guests.
Now a young boy, maybe 7 or 8 years old, who was sitting with his grandfather waiting for their meal to come out, bent down and started to pick up some fries and place them on a napkin he had opened on his table. My initial reaction was one of horror and concern. “He isn’t going to eat those, is he?” But my expression soon melted into a loving smile as the young man picked up the last of the spilled fries, rolled the napkin into a ball, and took it to the trash container. His grandfather saw me notice and smiled too.
I was wondering what I should do. I thought about purchasing a dessert for him, or at least telling him I was proud of what he did. But then their order came, the grandfather moved over to the “parents table”, and the young man began eating along with his two younger siblings. So, instead of triggering a dessert-war at the “children’s table” or walking up to them and receive a chorus of “Stranger Danger!”, I quietly finished my meal and departed.
I had been feeling guilty, like I missed an opportunity, until I read those few sentences from Sedgwick. That young man hadn’t performed his “service” to get approval from his grandfather or his parents or the waitress or from me. He didn’t do it expecting a reward in this world, and probably didn’t do it to earn “Brownie Points” with God either. But I am convinced that while I was smiling to see such selfless service to others, God was beaming with pride as well.
When your opportunity comes, will you make God smile too?
Last Midweek Lenten Service Wednesday March 16th
Meal at 6pm Service at 7pm