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Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Hungry Waiter

During my high school and college years, I pulled in some extra money through waitressing at various places like pizza shops and diners.  I loved the job. I loved being able to talk to so many different people, I enjoyed the laughs I had with the employees, and I especially loved the fact that I was given free food!  I was not only able to serve the delicious grub, I was also able to partake of it myself -- without charge!

I can remember a certain waitress, though, who never took advantage of the free food.  She was an excellent waitress and knew how to serve well. She just didn't stop to enjoy it for herself.  When people asked her why she didn't stop and eat a meal, she would explain that she was watching her figure and she wasn't very hungry anyway.  But the look on her face, when she saw other people eating, told a different story. She was like an onlooker staring into a wonderful world that she would not give herself permission to touch or enjoy. Though she helped to feed many, ironically, she, herself, was starving to death. 
We are Food-Distributors in the Kingdom -- a Waiter in God's Restaurant.  He doesn't ask us to create the Food.  He simply asks us to take it from His Hands and give it to the people.  What a fantastic job!  What a privilege to work in this kind of Restaurant and have such an amazing, kind, and generous Boss!  And the fringe benefits are great!  We not only get to distribute the Food, we get to help ourselves to as much of the savory delights as we wish!  Free food for all -- customers and employees alike -- all day, everyday!
But, though the Food is free for the taking, the choice remains ours if we will sit and eat.  It is our decision whether we will partake or not.  It is up to us whether we will receive and be nourished, or close our lips tight and starve. 
Some of us are like the young girl from the restaurant I mentioned.  We love to give, give, give.  We are the Martha's in the Restaurant.  For us, serving is not only enjoyable, it is a passion.  But, what we may fail to do is stop long enough to grab some Food for ourselves.  We work right through our 'coffee breaks', 'lunch breaks', and 'dinner breaks'.  And even if Jesus Himself comes into the Restaurant, we won't even break our stride to properly welcome Him.  We wave as we pass by His table and say, "I'll be right with you, Sir." 
The result is this:  We end up exhausted, hungry and malnourished.  If we stop for a moment and contemplate that, even the hardest worker would recognize that they are not doing any favors for anyone if they allow themselves to get to this point.  How can we continue to give if we are not replenishing ourselves from the Source?
Believe me, I totally understand this place.  I have been there and I can still find myself there sometimes.  I can feel guilty if I stop long enough to actually enjoy the Food I'm serving.  But we need to remember that just because we are serving, it doesn't mean we're not allowed to eat.  Even our earthly laws require that the employers give their employees breaks and time to refuel.  How cruel an employer would be if they didn't! 

So, if you are serving, continue to serve!  Just make sure you stop at Jesus' table and enjoy your lunch break with Him.  

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