Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
In college, I paid much of my way through school waiting tables in a restaurant. Being a food server meant I made very little money per hour from my employer and relied on the tips I received from customers to make a livable wage (at least for a college student.) One of the least popular shifts to work was the Sunday after church lunch shift. I always thought it was strange that people going out to eat after worshipping with their church families would be such bad tippers, but it was true. Friday and Saturday nights were the best, Sunday was the worst.
Hopefully, things are different now, but I wonder. When you think about it, tipping is almost always about getting things at least the way you expect or even better than you expected. Does your food not come out correct or quick? The server’s tip is going to suffer. We’re certainly not going to be overjoyed with our experience and thank the restaurant staff for our worse than expected service with our words let alone our hard earned money.
And yet today’s scripture says “Rejoice always…give thanks in all circumstances…for this is the will of God.” Because I waited tables for so long, I always tip well even when the service is not so good; I want to make up for all the tables that likely didn’t tip well when the should, but also because scripture kind of commands it. Likewise, as a pastor, I want to have a good and generous reputation for our church. Suffice it to say that when the waitress in our local Waffle House sees me and my daughter coming in for our regular Friday before school breakfast, she motions us to her section. That’s because even when our food is slow coming out or there’s been a mistake, we still take care of her. Giving thanks in all circumstances doesn’t seem fair, but neither does God sending his son Jesus to die for my sins. But just thinking about that makes me thankful inside and that joy overflows to others, even when conditions dictate they might not deserve it.
Questions to ponder
What is a hard and sometimes thankless job that you have done or seen someone else do?
When you sit down to eat a meal, do you pray before you eat? Some call that saying grace. What are some ways that you can show grace to those that served you after a meal out (or a meal at home?)
Part of today’s scripture said, “Rejoice always…give thanks in all circumstances…for this is the will of God.” Why do you think this is the will of God? What does he want to accomplish through this kind of thankfulness?