Lucas tells us that for every compliment, the store receives at least 5 or 6 complaints. It isn’t because the store is so bad, or the employees. It is because we are all far quicker to complain than to compliment. When you remember that your words can make or break a career, shouldn’t Christians be far more careful about this? I have made it a point in the past few years to compliment workers who go out of their way for me. I also try to speak to a manager or send a letter. I listen for people’s names and repeat them back at some point. If you are not receiving good service, you might be surprised at how much better your service instantly becomes when the server knows you can call him by name. They know you have noticed them as people. Isn’t that what Jesus always did, notice the folks that no one else ever paid any attention to?
In our travels to other cities for my medical treatments, we stayed in one hotel twice within a six month period. On the second visit, the waitress in the restaurant remembered us. “You are the only ones who ever talked to me like I was a real person,” she said. “The others treat me like furniture.” That same morning I left my purse in the restaurant. Most of our travel money was in that purse, which was why I did not leave it in the room. That waitress did not know our names, but she described us to the front desk—“A couple from Florida. The wife is here for eye surgery”—and was standing outside our hotel room door with the purse before I even noticed it was missing. The hotel received a letter about her after we returned home. I hope it helped her as much as she helped us.
Christians should never be the ones making a scene at the supermarket because we opened up the flour and found weevils in it. Christians simply take it back and quietly ask for a refund or a replacement. Christians should never be the ones ordering waitresses around as if they were slaves, or barking at every little thing that isn’t just right. Surely we can ask for something in a civil tone and say thank you when the item is brought to us. Surely we can say, “I’m sorry to cause you trouble but this steak is a little underdone. Could you possibly give it another minute or two?” How much does it hurt to be kind instead of mean? How much does it hurt to be like Jesus?
And think about this: What if that waitress walks into services Sunday morning because she has seen a sign or a tract, or a neighbor has invited her, and there sits the biggest grouch she ever waited on? What is it the Lord said about millstones and stumblingblocks?
If instead, she sees some of the nicest people she has ever served, I bet she will be more likely to listen and then to come back. I had much rather be in that situation than the other.
Give no occasions of stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the church of God: even as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of the many, that they may be saved, 1 Cor 10:32,33.