"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause
anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everybody in
every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be
saved. Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1, NIV)
You've heard the expression, "Busy as a beaver." and "it was like a beehive of activity in the room." Both idioms are describing somebody or someplace that churns with energy and purpose.
Clearly, if you have ever watched an anthill or a beehive the two phrases mentioned make perfect sense. The movements in anthills and beehives are a wonderful choreographed dance that fulfill the life and prosperity of both.
Yesterday, I was meeting a friend at a McDonald's for some catch up time. We both agreed to drive 30+ miles from our homes to a central location and it just happened that Newport, PA was the best option available. As we talked about family, vocation, politics, sports, and a 100 other topics, the minutes grew into two hours. Many customers came, ate, and left to move on through their evening. The drive through line of cars looked like a sluggish caterpillar moving by with non-stop movement.
Have you ever spent time in a mall or store simply watching people? Granted, I was there with my colleague and we were engaging each other and listening to each other. But sometimes, a person or atmosphere just lends itself for us to take notice. Let me introduce you to Jacinda.
For two hours, Jacinda was busy as a beaver and she was akin to a beehive of activity. Jacinda works at the McDonald's in Newport and she is one dedicated worker. She carried her handled dustpan and broom gathering everything and anything that was on the floor. She made the circuit around the restaurant at least a minimum of 15 times in two hours. She would follow that task by sanitizing and wiping tables to prepare them for the next customer. She did this task at least as many times. If that weren't enough, I witnessed her carrying food to waiting 'drive through' customers and this approximately 12-15 times in two hours. Many readers would think, "Whatever! Well, yeah, that's why she was hired." Okay, it is a fair point. But this young lady (I'll guess she was 18-22 years of age) was the exception to the prevailing notion that young people are unmotivated.
When I could remain silent no longer, I interrupted her as she swept her way past us. I said, "Excuse me, what is your name?" She seemed startled at first. Apparently, not many awkward customers ask her what her name is. I had to be that one! She paused her sweeping and nervously attended to my question. She responded, "My name is Jacinda." Because of the noisy atmosphere I asked her again. She responded in kind. Thinking she had said, "It is just Linda." I continued.
I responded, "Linda, I want you to know how impressed I am with your work ethic. You have been non-stop sweeping and cleaning the floor and tables." She blinked and nervously shifted on her feet.
I went on, "You are such a good worker and I want to thank you for all you are doing." She blurted out a reply, "Well, we have a policy to keep this place clean and I want to be doing that." As she shifted one more time on her feet, I smiled at her and she moved on and continued her relentless battle against refuse and grimy tables. As Jim and I finished our conversation, I thought a lot about Jacinda as I drove home.
Am I willing to work tirelessly toward some end in order that others might enjoy the benefits of my labor? Am I willing to be a servant and decide that a task is so important that nothing will deter me from completing it? Will I always look for another opportunity to please my boss (supervisor) and will I never stand around saying, "I'm bored?"
In 1 Corinthians 10, the apostle Paul was speaking toward a believer's responsibility to live in union with God and Christ. He was implying that our words and actions should reflect our connection to the Divine and that we would scream our allegiance to Jesus even though our mouths remain shut. So, whether it is being a pastor, delivering mail, or sweeping floors and wiping tables, WHATEVER we do should be done to honor and glorify God.
How do you perceive your vocation? Is it something that puts food on the table? Is it something that pays the bills? Or, is it something that brings a level of satisfaction that can only be found when placing someone else's importance above our own is the sole purpose? I don't know Jacinda's view of God or holiness, but I did see God in her actions.
"A Musing Pastor"
PS: I regret I didn't hear her name well enough. To which my friend asked afterward, "Do you have your hearing aid in?" and I replied, "Huh?"