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Advice for Mother’s Day Dining-Revisited

Bill and Sarah and their children, Chris, 3, and Terry, 12, followed the waitress through the Mother’s Day crowd to a table in the middle of the restaurant.

“We want a booth,” said Sarah.

“I’m sorry,” said the waitress, “we’re always full on Mother’s Day. We could wait if you prefer.”

“We’ll take the table,” Sarah said with a sigh and then added discontentedly, “You should save booths for families since you know that there will be lots of us on Mother’s Day.”

The waitress found a booster seat for Chris and took their drink order.

While they waited, they studied the menu. Sarah said that Chris could just eat off her salad bar plate. Bill told Terry to order from the kid’s menu. “But it says up to age 9,” protested Terry, “I’m 12 and I’m hungry!”

“If we don’t tell them,” said Bill, “they won’t know since you’re small for your age.”

“Thanks,” muttered Terry.

Meanwhile, the waitress prepared their drinks, took a deep breath and started across the room through the maze of children playing tag among the tables. After successfully delivering their drinks, she took their orders. Sarah ordered the Salad Bar and asked for an extra plate for Chris. “Actually,” said the waitress, “he needs to order his own meal, but we do have a children’s menu or the salad bar for only $1.39 extra.”

“That’s hardly fair considering the little he eats.” Sarah protested.

“I’m sorry,” said the waitress, “but those are the rules as the menu says.”

“Well, you should be more generous when it comes to little kids,” said Bill.

“So,” said the waitress, “will it be an adult salad bar and a child’s salad bar?”

“I suppose if we have to,” muttered Sarah rolling her eyes.

Bill ordered the chicken dinner and Terry selected something from the children’s menu.

“That’s for children under 9,” said the waitress with raised eyebrows.

“He’s been 9 for a while,” interrupted Bill.

With a sigh, the waitress gathered the menus and left.

Later as the waitress started clearing the table, she found a religious tract and a few coins. She also found spilled pop, scattered French Fries, Jell-O dripping down the legs of the chairs and cottage cheese smashed into the carpet.

“Look at this mess,” said another waitress who came to help, “we know when it’s Sunday and especially Mother’s Day.”

“We should refuse these shifts,” the other said wearily. “Then those so called Christians would have to go home to take care of their own messes.”

So Bill, Sarah and their children continued with their usual Sunday routine not realizing the kind of impact they had made. They taught their children to pout and complain when they couldn’t have their preference. They taught them to steal, by not wanting to pay for Chris’s food. They taught them to lie, by concealing Terry’s real age. They insulted their preteen by referring to his size. They taught them to be unappreciative by leaving a tiny tip. They taught them to be disrespectful by leaving a mess at the table and never saying please or thank you..

Unfortunately, this is only partly fiction. Not every family is this bad collectively, but I’ve been told that Sunday is a day many waitresses dread because of the rude, offensive behavior and poor tips from the church crowd. I’ve also been told that waitresses love Friday and Saturday nights because the patrons are happy, friendly and tip generously.

Is this the impression we, as Christians, want to make as we leave our churches and enter the mission field? As we visit restaurants in our Sunday dress this Mother’s Day, we need to demonstrate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5 NIV) These traits should exude from our very being as we grow in Christ. Let’s not just leave tracts, but let’s be so magnetic and generous that people will want what we have.

Jesus said, “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”. (Matt. 5:16 NIV) Let’s let our light shine brightly this Mother’s Day weekend!!

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