Matthew 20:16 (NIV)
It started a few years ago in an NYC diner. I put down the menu and asked my waiter to order my food for me. I did not want suggestions. I wanted them to decide on my behalf. I said, ‘What would you eat today?’ Since then it’s been a way of life. Every time I eat out, I ask the person serving me to bring me what they would have, telling them I have no dietary restrictions. The only instruction is that they do NOT tell me what it will be TILL it arrives.
Rarely have I been disappointed. Meals have been fresh and tasty; waiting people are excited and engaged in describing why they have chosen as they did. People around me always ask me, ‘Why? What if you get something you don’t like?’ But I never ever have. What I have got is a lot of tasty meals and a lesson in trust.
Instead of handing out an order, I start an exchange – by putting myself in their hands I’m saying, ‘I trust your judgement and care for me’, but more importantly, ‘I’m interested in you and value your opinion.’ Whenever I catch myself ‘appearing’ to listen as people speak about their lives, I remind myself that what I really need to do is not to ‘order’ but to receive, to listen. Wait on others. Like when Jesus tells his disciples, before sending them out for ministry (Matthew 10:8), ‘Freely you have received; freely give.’ For me this means: Freely receive, listen without judging, or thinking. Wait. Now give. Before you can give, you’ve got to know how to receive. My practical way to learn this is not to order my food in restaurants any more. I trust.
I trust the servers and this is my way to serve them back. I like the way this holds me accountable to others – the friends with me; the staff serving me; other people watching me order (trust me, they watch!). What I see is people feeling valued by someone trusting them. They feel loved, trusted. And I am learning to trust. Gradually.
Why don’t you try it? Serve the server. You might get more than you bargained for.