Dawdling service at restaurants gets under my skin. (The only thing worse is fast food at a slow drive through.) At lunch not long ago we got dawdling service from our server. Here’s what happened.
I never let on to the waiter that I was miffed, yet inside my fuse was burning. Here’s why:
- The table next to us ate and left before we did, though we arrived at the same time.
- Our water glasses were often empty and the food order came out wrong.
- The waiter fouled up the bill.
- I was late getting back to work.
But then, just before we left, I felt like a complete idiot. The waiter made mention that it was his first day. You see, the problem wasn’t his incompetence.
It was my impatience.
Life hands us a line of slow servers. God shows us the best way to disarm our short fuse.
I’m always amazed how some couples have no problem fighting in public. Once I stood in the popcorn line at the movies and the couple in front of me were arguing. In this case, the man was way out of line.
I wanted to take his popcorn, soft drink, and hot cheesy nachos and dump them down his pants.
Some people are, well, just flat unlovable. On good days we call them “jerks.” On bad days we’re tempted to cross the line and be jerks right back at them.
It’s for those days the Scriptures urge us:
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. . . . If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. —Romans 12:17–19
Sometimes this command seems impossible with jerks. And honestly?
Only with God’s help can you deal with the jerks in your life.
At Tel Arad, the whole land of Canaan lay before the Hebrews. They had waited and wandered forty years in the wilderness. The Promised Land was theirs for the taking. Right there before them!
Instead, God led the Hebrews on a major detour.
Tel Arad in Israel’s Negev offers many benefits to its visitors. It’s an oasis of ancient archaeology. It gives a rare glimpse of Judah’s idolatry.
And it speaks to us today of the need to tap the brakes on our impatience with God’s leading.
I hate drive-through windows. There’s just something so incongruent with “fast-food” that’s not fast. Once with my family in the car, I got so frustrated with the individual behind the unintelligible speaker who couldn’t understand me when I ordered, “pickles and cheese.”
So I repeated it with passion: “I want chickles and peas!”
After I realized what I said, I turned to my wife and daughters. They burst in laughter. For them, it was better than the meal.
I’m not sure what “chickles” are, but I ordered some, and the cashier gave me a price.
Since that day a question has nagged me: Why do we treat God like the cashier at the drive-through window?
Think about the worst mistake you’ve made. If you’re like me, it probably ranks as the worst because of the fallout it caused. After all, some wrong things we did seem to have had little effect. But the ones that backfired on us we view as the big ones.
(Photo: by Dammnap, via Wikimedia Commons)
The trouble is, we never know which compromises will end up being the big ones.
Reuben, the oldest son of Jacob, blew it big-time. From his example, we can learn to make two daily decisions that can change the past.
More specifically, we can change the past that will be.