Tuesday, December 06, 2016


A centurion there had a slave whom he valued highly, and who was ill and close to death.  Luke 7:2

How much value do we put on those who serve us?

The person who cuts our hair, and asks us how things are going, what we are doing today?  Do we ask them about their work, their families, what might be happening in their lives?  The server at our table at a meal with colleagues or friends - do we notice the dark circles under their eyes, the way she stretches to get the kinks out of her back, the worry lines on the forehead of someone too young to carry such burdens?  The driver who gets out every morning to deliver the paper in the dark/cold/damp, the bus driver who picks up our kids or grandkids, the person who works on our car, the lady who speaks a different language who cleans and tidies the room of the hotel where we stay?

How much do we value those who serve us?

One of the jobs I had to pay my way through college was as a cook in a restaurant.  I know the long hours that have to be put in, the incredible amount of time on one's feet, the attitude of caring for customers who obviously don't care for anything or anyone other than themselves.  I know how much I was paid (which wasn't a whole lot).  But I also came to know the folks who waited on the people, took their orders, served them the meal, cleaned up after folks.  I saw them berated by people because there was not enough ice in a drink, hollered at because a knife was dirty, rudely waved at by someone who thought he was a VIP but was really a JERK.  I know how much the servers got paid, which was less than me.

I heard their stories of trying to feed and clothe kids on subsistence wages which meant they relied on the gratuities offered to them, only to see a group of businessmen who had just spent several hundred dollars on a meal, drop $2 on the table for the server.  I have seen well-dressed people leave a table so littered and messy their mothers would be utterly horrified and ashamed.  I have seen folks pull out calculators to figure out (to the penny) what each person owed on the bill, and then walk away leaving the server with nothing but a table to clean. 

How much do we value those who serve us?

As much as this nameless centurion?

Or less?

(c) 2016 Thom M. Shuman

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