Searching for the Servant Jesus

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

So let me ask you a question —

Do you think Jesus would rather work as a table server at a Waffle House or be the lead pastor of a mega-church?

For you outside the Southern USA, Waffle Houses are 24 hour diners specializing in breakfast food. Their service is fast and the food is ordinary yet tasty. Quantity trumps quality though the food isn’t awful. The kitchen is open for customers to see the organized chaos of quick-order cooks handling dozens of orders coming from active servers. I’ve never eaten in one at 3:00 AM. I imagine the atmosphere is much different then.

Generally speaking, the people that eat at a Waffle House are your down-to-earth, regular Joe and Jane. They’re not looking for a fancy, “farm to table,” specialty breakfast. Nor do they want a fast food, pre-made sandwich. You sit down, order from a menu, and are served by a (usually) friendly, down-to-earth server. This is middle-class, blue collar Americana.

Waffle House has been in the news lately due to a deadly shooting at a Nashville location.

However, I thought of this question long before any of that happened.

Back to the question – What is your gut reaction?

Your answer may say more about you than Him. Your understanding of Jesus or at least your perception probably affects your answer.

The question is really trying to get at your view of Christ’s humility or humility in general.

We intuitively don’t ascribe humility to most mega-church pastors. Probably because most (not all) mega-church pastors have large egos. Of course, we all have blimp-sized egos.  We are so self-oriented we can’t see it. Yet, when an unchecked ego is placed into a sanctioned “spiritually-authoritative” position, it can become monstrous.

At the same time, it’s difficult to imagine Jesus standing before thousands of people proclaiming his greatness. He was anything but a self-promoter. In fact, there are a few instances recorded in the Gospels when he asked a person to NOT spread any word about Himself.

One time, Jesus’ friends wanted him to go to Judea so “your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” He refused. The time was not right. (John 7.1-9)

Jesus did nothing to promote Himself. He simply lived His life according to the will of the Father by the Holy Spirit. Yet, He influenced the lives of everyone He met. He changed the world. He’s been the dominant figure in history for over 2000 years…with no self-promotion. Huh?!?

If Jesus walked the streets of your city today, He’d probably do so unknown and unnoticed. He didn’t come to be served but to serve. He’d be a leader more like Gandhi than Trump.

It’s easier to imagine Him waiting on tables, unassuming and kind in serving coffee, eggs, orange juice, and waffles. With a smile, patience, and long-suffering He’d serve others without egoism.

Where have we gone wrong? It seems the bigger the ego the higher the exaltation. The Christian “big names” are sought after, promoted, idolized, supported, and made wealthy.

Don’t blame them. We’re the idiots who buy their stuff, attend their conferences, pay attention to their every word, and proclaim their worth. We’re pitiful! No doubt, we befriend and nurture this crazy Christian consumerist celebrity-ism.

The next time you’re in a restaurant, imagine that its Jesus serving you. He may look like an attractive black female coed with a nose stud or a slow-moving, rotund Sr. citizen making ends meet with this part-time gig. But I bet, you’d be shocked if you knew Jesus was actually serving you. And, I imagine, you’d think twice about every move you made.

Humility does that. It’s a good thing. We need more of it.

So, maybe next Sunday at 10:00 am, hit your local Waffle House instead of your mega-church. Maybe Jesus will actually show up.