Saturday, September 12, 2009

What would Jesus do at Taco Bell?

Have you ever gone to a restaurant or especially a fast food place where the person waiting on you seemed to be bored out of their skull? They look at you as if your very presence offends them. Their body language screams at you that they would rather be anywhere else doing anything else but standing there taking your food order. You are in the way. They are there simply because they HAVE to be. They exhibit no joy and they make no bones about the fact that they are not thrilled to see you.

I do not know about you but when such a case happens to me, I tend to react poorly, at least initially. I remember one instance in particular. About a year ago, my wife and I went to the local Taco Bell for supper. It was just the two of us, which rarely happens, so we were looking forward to a pleasant meal. We had high hopes. Those hopes were dashed as soon as we approached the counter. The expression on the young lady's face who manned the counter let me know she was having a bad day and that she fully intended to let that ill feeling infect us, too. Her tone was surly. He face was sour. Our order was wrong when we got it and when asked by another employee what to do, the young lady with whom we placed our order, literally shouted at them to FIX IT!

Needless to say, I was less than impressed. The infection had indeed spread to me. I sat grumbling as I ate. How could they let such a person work here? Why could they not get my order right? And what had I done to evoke such a rotten attitude from her? I vowed to my wife that I would NEVER return IF that girl at the counter was working.

I reacted just as poorly as she had acted. As we left the building, the Holy Spirit placed a thought in my mind. "Did she see Jesus in you or did she see one more example of selfishness and pride?", He asked. He made me consider her soul. The Holy Spirit showed me that I had no chance at witnessing to her about the love of Christ with a scowl on my face.

I had no idea what the girl's day had been like. I did not know what jerks may have ruined her attitude. I had no idea if she was a Christian. I did not know what in her life might be so deeply disturbing to her that it overcame her attitude at work. What I did know, however, was that I had not exemplified Christ to her. I have no doubt that she knew from my expressions just how angered I was even though I never uttered one cross word to her.

She was wrong to treat a customer the way she did. I was more wrong because I treated a person for whom Christ died with resentment rather than kindness. "Be you kind one to another", Jesus said. This girl might have needed someone to just be kind to her whether or not she would have immediately responded likewise. I missed an opportunity to be like Christ. Does that ever happen to you?

Daily we all face many situations where we need the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit to show us how to be like Jesus and to embolden us then act as He would. I think we forget how needy we are. I think we over-estimate our spiritual strength. We really do need to be filled with the Spirit every day. There may be an unhappy person behind the counter who needs to see Him and we may be the only living witness to cross their path.

Be kind. Be thankful. Be like Jesus even when, and especially when, people treat you with indifference and insolence. Treat them in return with grace and love. Your order may still be wrong when you get it but your heart will be right and your witness will be intact.

Because He lives,