Have you ever hand-tossed pizza dough? I have not. I liked to watch trained professionals do it but I don't think I possess that spiritual gift. The art of efficiency is born out of intentional listening and practice, practice, practice. I suppose all things are possible, but a call to do any vocation is so important. I do not hear a call to toss pizza dough.
We had recently heard of a local store that has good hoagies and wanted to try them out. Yesterday I went to the small store to get them. My first experience there was good. I was greeted at the door with a 'good afternoon' and a smile. Good start! I wandered around the cozy confines of the place. I was not sure if they premade hoagies or made them to order but soon discovered the latter to be true.
Waiting patiently behind another customer, I noted the efficiency with which the hoagie maker exhibited. She was quick, accurate, and friendly; all good traits for customer service. When it was my turn to order, I soon discovered the secret to this lady's success. She took my order and took extra time to make sure she heard what I had said. She repeated what she thought she heard and I corrected her. She continued to write my order and make changes then repeated it back a second time. With a few tweaks, I corrected the written order again and then we were set. She wasn't impatient or frustrated over the corrections. It seemed to me as though she welcomed them.
This lady had three hoagies made, one with special instructions, and was ready to hand them over within a couple minutes. I commented, "Wow, that was fast." she smiled. I continued, "You must have made a few of these to be that quick." She smiled again and said, "Fourteen years. I have been making hoagies for fourteen years." She paused and said, "After that long, I can almost make them blindfolded." I thanked her for her efficiency and attention to the customer. We parted company and I walked away impressed.
Later after enjoying the scrumptious hoagie, I gazed out the dining room window and spoke with an audible voice to nobody but myself, "How many hoagies can a person make in fourteen years????"
Why would one make hoagies for that long? Apparently, this person feels called to this vocation and cares enough about it to listen intently, record the order, then double and triple check to be sure it is correct. Without being too judgmental, I would suggest this lady could make a hoagie with blindfold in place better than some folks could without one.
I don't know if this woman is a believer in Jesus. I didn't ask. I do know she cares. She wants to serve people. She is efficient. She is personable. She is faithful (fourteen years making hoagies). She exhibits many of the characteristics of one who could be a follower of Jesus. Perhaps, the next time I visit, I'll mention to her about my admiration of her work ethic and her similarities found in one who has faith in Christ. I now have a talking point to follow.
"Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:12-17, NIV)
After yesterday's encounter with a fourteen year veteran of hoagie making, I wondered about the signs of Jesus someone might expect to see in me. Do they see signs of Jesus? How about you, are there signs of Jesus in your words, patience, service, faithfulness, and actions? Is there a distinct reflection of Christ in you and me that others can see? Whatever we do should be done in the name of Jesus.