The waitress story: My favorite analogy… ever

(Photo: Jenny Downing)

My parents are out on an anniversary date.

They’d chosen what they thought was a fairly nice restaurant, at least by middle-class, Louisville, Kentucky standards. My dad probably wanted a blackened steak, my mom her classic salmon, and they’d enjoy the evening chatting together.

So they’re seated at a booth in the corner, and the waitress asks if she could bring them a Merlot. Everything’s clicking so far.

A couple minutes later, as my parents sit there talking, the waitress returns. She asks for their dinner order this time. My parents give it, and then…

And then things start to change. Instead of telling the chef what my parents want, the waitress hangs around. She asks how long my parents have been married, then about their kids, then even starts rambling on about her own kids.

Okay, this is getting insane. My dad’s a pastor, so he and my mom are pretty much required by the Law of Moses to enjoy people. Still, it’s their anniversary. My parents want to be alone, at least for one evening out of the year.

But the waitress keeps chatting, at one point even pulling up a chair from another table. She’s trying to help… but not.

Moral of the story

How often do you and I do what this waitress did? Instead of simply setting up the banquet and letting God take care of the romance, we try to sit in, helping God along. Hello, Church of the Third Wheel.

It comes down to this: our job is to serve. Our job is to prepare the way for the Lord, and let Him take it from there. He must increase, but you and I must decrease.

Overall, my parents still enjoyed a wonderful evening together – they’re cool like that. But other than giving my parents a great story to tell afterward, the waitress didn’t add to their experience.

Serving Suggestions:

(1) Where’s the focus? Sometimes, it’s hard to see how we’re getting in the way, because we feel like we’re helping. But by taking a moment to consider where we’re pointing, you and I can choose to serve instead of suck the attention.

(2) Check your own life and your own ministries, the ways you serve God. Is the focus on you and your ministry or on God? Taking that even further, is the focus on God’s principles or on His personality? Because our job is to reveal God and His personality, who He is. That’s what people fall in love with, not the extras we bring to the table.

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