A tale of two restaurants

Watch your step sign

Ben and I were at a restaurant yesterday when a worker spilled two glasses of drink all over the floor.  The liquid followed a path like a bowling ball down the alley between table and booths, making it hard for anyone seated in those areas to get up.

The young man responsible for the mess immediately tried to clean it up.  He tried to wipe up the massive amount of liquid with his foot on a rag.  Occasionally, he bent down to pick up ice chips.  He clearly had not cleaned up many (or any) spills at the restaurant before.

He was gone a while trying to figure out what to do and came back with a rag again.  He kept trying to wipe up a huge amount of liquid with soaking wet rags.  Once he carried the rag away, water was streaming from it, marking his path like something from Hansel and Gretel.

I don’t know where the mop in the restaurant was, or if the young man knew about it, but he kept coming back trying to make up for his mistake.  Embarrassed and not knowing what to do, he kept trying to attack the mess with rags.  Meanwhile, anyone who walked by could have slipped and fallen.

The waitresses who had customers at the tables of course found out about the mess.  The first one walked through it without an offer to help.  The other waitress came around another alley.  No manager came out, and the busser kept bussing tables.  No one even seemed to consider helping the young man.

It took him a painfully long time to clean up the mess, making trip after trip.  All the while, he was completely unable to do his job: seat guests.

As I watched, I wanted to get a rag and help him out.  (I also wanted to find a mop.)  The lack of compassion (and training) didn’t make me want to go back to the restaurant.

Compare this to a time I was at one of our local Village Inn’s a few years back.  One of the waitresses dropped a dish with the huge noise of crashing glass.  She didn’t have to feel flustered or embarrassed long.  The manager of the restaurant immediately came over to help. He acted as if her problem was his problem and that he wasn’t too important to help her clean it up.  With the employees pitching in to help, the mess was cleaned up in no time, and the waitress was able to go back to work.

Let me ask you a question: How do you view God?  Do you think He’s like the uninvolved, perhaps even unaware manager in the first story . . or like the ready, servant-hearted manager in the second story?  Do you feel like God cares about your messes–or that He’s turned His back on you and is leaving you to fix them yourself?

Even though our messes are unimaginably worse than a spilled drink or broken dish, God doesn’t leave us to fix for ourselves what is impossible for us to fix.  Not unless, of course, we refuse His help.

God doesn’t want us to be on our own with sin too devastating for us to handle.  That’s why He came down.  When Jesus was on the cross, He took all of our messes and He fixed them Himself.  He had to do it by Himself.  No one could step up to help.  And He did it so that we wouldn’t have to be stuck with the nightmare of trying to clean up sin.

Only He could do it.  Only He is perfect, and only He is God who has infinite ability to fix the crookedness and wipe away the evil of all who believe.

If you feel you’re standing in the middle of a mountain of broken goodness and spilled righteousness, surrender your mess to God.  Only He can help you and the good news is, He is waiting.

No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame . . (Psalm 25:3a, NIV)

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Published in: on April 27, 2014 at 7:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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