Be an observer in a classy restaurant for a few minutes. Sit and watch the interactions between the waiters and the customers / diners and you will understand how nice it is to be waited on. For someone to just be standing waiting, discretely attentive to every gesture you make, even to your non verbal and facial expressions, just waiting to please you, to serve and cater to your indulgences; this feels great indeed. After dining in such a restaurant, you are most likely to remember the service even more than the food you ate.
Ensuring customer service and satisfaction is paramount for securing repeat business. Any good business person knows that everyone wants to be treated well. People go to great expense to get good customer service. It is therefore only really accessible to those who can afford it.
Now imagine that you do not have to pay for it. Now that will be heaven indeed. But it is hard to find genuine, well organised, hands on, undelegated service which is free.
The problem is that people will rather belong to the group that receives more so than the group that gives. We are not always keen on giving direct service to others if it will not benefit us in some way. Infact we find it degrading and menial especially if the recipient is in a ‘lower class’ than we are. We may be affluent and wealthy enough to give financially to others who are not so blessed but to get our hands dirty doing the actual serving, oh no, we won’t. This is too demeaning. Don’t be deceived. We are good at talking the talk but walking the walk genuinely is something of a rarity.
Society is therefore full of people who are oriented towards taking rather than giving. Where giving is done, it has to be convinient and in some way self benefiting even if indirectly. The world has a lot of charity donors and philantropists who give what they can afford in order to make a name for themselves but as popular and praiseworthy as that is, there are only a few that directly ‘touch’ the needy in society.
I like the TV program, ‘Secret Millionaire‘ because, at the end of each episode, the millionaire who has dared to live undercover amongst the needy and be part of their daily struggles comes away with a better sense of the worth of the people so that what he gives in terms of money becomes a secondary matter and pales in significance to the richness and the worth of the people he is trying to help. These secret millionaires become inwardly enriched and directly acquainted with the struggles. They are not just touched by the people’s plight from the comfort of their millionaire empires but from the dung pit of suffering and struggle. This experience is humbling to the soul and expands the heart of the giver. It makes the giver experience true greatness which money cannot buy.
‘Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud’. (Proverbs 16:19 KJV)
On the otherside of the divide, are those who are determined to become rich by taking advantage of the poor. They want to be able to afford the lifestyle of being pandered to and catered to. The celebrity lifestyle. They turn to illegimate shorthanded dealings to enable them afford the ‘affluent, everyone at your beck and call’ kind of life. This represents greatness to them.
Recently, there was a news item on BBC1 about how the police have been able to raid, established syndicates of criminals and confiscicate imitation designer items that were being produced on a large scale and being pumped into the market. Bags, shoes, watches, coats and the like with authentic looking designer logos were being sold at half the price of the genuine ones.
The question is; why will criminals make imitations of these brands and try to sell them off as the real thing? It is because of the value that the original brands have now got. Someone started them, worked hard, paid the price over many years to get the brand to where it is now. The ‘give me satisfaction quick criminals’ wanting to live affluent lives, take advantage of the ignorant poor and sell these counterfeit stuff to them.
These criminals are the takers in society, not the givers. Even the little the poor has they take away from them for consumption on their own lusts – a life of luxury and indulgence where money allows for every whim or desire to be pandered to. The police were previously destroying the counterfeit items but a Christian charity now takes them and removes the fake labels and donates them to ex- offenders and homeless people and others in need.
As bad as these criminals are, they are at least blatant in their evil scheme of defrauding others. They are no worse than the Christian, who having received the genuine authentic love of God begins to sit in their ivory towers wanting to be served and waited on by the masses in the name of Christianity.
We refuse to roll up our sleeves and serve others directly. We will rather package the grace of God and re – sell it to meet our own needs. We want the titles, the affluence and we desire to be waited on. The world is presently awash with christian celebrity superstars. The main theme if you look carefully is ‘ give me a dollar and I will pray for you’.
We are like Criminals not willing to pay the price, but wanting to benefit illegally from the popularity of the brand. The brand we are counterfeiting is no ordinary brand. The Christian life is a life paid for by royal blood. Not just any royal blood but the blood of the only begotten son of God.
We can still hear his voice calling out. ‘Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me’. (Isaiah 6:8 KJV).
Jesus Christ redefined greatness. The greatest is not the one being served but rather the one doing the serving. He not only redefined it for us but he lived it too. He rolled up his royal sleeves and agreed to be demoted from his throne to live and dwell with the objects of his creation and to serve them in the most menial forms possible to the point of dying for them all at his own cost. Amazing!
‘Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross’. (Philippians 2:4-8 KJV)
So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. (John 13:12-17 KJV)
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:11, 12 KJV)
Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? (Romans 2:21 KJV)
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, (2 Timothy 3:4-6 KJV)
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. (Matthew 16:27 KJV)
Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. (1 Corinthians 7:21, 22 KJV)
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 16:24, 25 KJV)
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21 KJV)
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 KJV)
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10 KJV)
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. (Matthew 23:12 KJV)