Decades back, I first knew her when she was in the college group I led. We've stayed in touch over the years and I appreciate how she thinks. Her Facebook post this morning struck quite a chord with a number of readers.
” I am having breakfast at a cute place... A nice little family just came in. They have not acknowledged the wait staff once. No 'good morning' or 'thank you' when seated. No eye contact or acknowledgement when given coffee. No eye contact or thank you after placing their order with their very sweet server. I hate it when I see this kind of thing. No one is better or above anybody else. The world benefits from these small kind of niceties and respect shown to all people.”
I had to ask if the servers remained polite, and she replied, "Oh yes, I go here every other weekend and they are always polite."
So, what's the hook between this and growing closer to God, to enhancing our connection? Really, it's pretty simple. God loves all people, and we need the same heart. How do we express that? The apostle Paul gave nine ways the presence of God reveals itself in our actions, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23).
A quick caveat: I have no idea at all about the spiritual beliefs about this family. They may be followers of Jesus; they may not be. In no way do I desire to hold nonbelievers accountable for their behavior. But I've seen many believers act in this manner, and sometimes worse. I won't go to restaurants with several. The haunting story of this family serves as a metaphor for many of us, for how we often act.
If we have a genuine love for God, we treat his human creation with love, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness. Honestly, as she described the encounter, none of those seemed to abound with that family. Here's the kicker: the more we express these godly traits to others, the closer we grow to God. The less nice we are, the more barriers we build between ourselves and God.
Overall, I'm continually amazed at how God cares about the details. The small stuff that reveals so much.
Kick Starting the Application
Think for a moment of how you treat strangers, those you know you'll likely never see again. Kind, neutral, or rude? Have you thought of how that expresses your faith in Jesus? The next time you encounter someone new, imagine Jesus in their face. Would that change how you act? How can you better serve Jesus as you meet new people?