The Parable of the Texting Waiter

 Robert Burgo

 

In Matthew 23:25, Jesus uses an analogy to describe the hypocrites of His day.  He says, "...you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside, they are full of extortion and self-indulgence."  I'd like to describe this in modern terms.

 You go to a restaurant, "Bob's Lobster Shack."  It's loaded with people.  Every seat in the room is full.

 You debate whether you should leave, then see a couple leave.  You snatch the opportunity and rush to the table.  

 Your mouth starts to water with anticipation as you open the menu.  You wait for a waiter to remove the dirty plates sitting before you and take your order.  Five minutes later, a young waiter arrives, holding a notepad in one hand and texting on his cell phone with the other.  "May I take your order?" he asks without looking at you.  You order a dozen fried shrimp and a Diet Coke. 

 As the waiter leaves, you call out, "Hey kid, aren't you going to grab these dishes?"  He continues to walk away.

 A lady in her 50s at the table in front of you glances back.  "Kids these days" you say to her.  She nods knowingly and goes back to eating.   

 A few minutes later, the waiter arrives with your food.  He has a greasy napkin with shrimp in one hand and a bottle of Diet Coke in the other.  The young waiter sets the soda on the table, pulls a rag from his pocket, and starts polishing the outside of the dirty plate and cup. 

 You think, “This is odd.”

 He then pours some Coke into the glass (which is a quarter of the way full from the last customer’s iced coffee), and dumps the shrimp on a plate with the remains of fish n’ chips.  “What’d you do that for!” you ask angrily.

 “What did I do?” the waiter asks with an innocent look on his face. 

 Your face flushes as you glare at him.  “You can see what you did; you dumped my good food on a dirty plate!”

 “I cleaned the outside of them.  Why does the inside need to be clean?” he says.

 Many Christians are like that waiter.  We get caught up in making ourselves look good on the outside while we ignore the fact that we’re supposed to obey Christ.  You are not a true Christian if you follow the “say this prayer, sign this card” routine, and call it good.  It doesn’t work that way.  Jesus says, “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest.”  Rest from what?  From the burden the world puts on our shoulders.  It’s depressing when you keep running back and forth aimlessly, wondering if your life has a purpose.  When we come to Jesus, we have the assurance that there’s a reason for us to live. 

 But why would a Christian choose to go back to living like the rest of the world?  If you claim to be a Christian in a church setting, but nowhere else, you’re breaking one of the Ten Commandments.  The third commandment says, “Do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…” (Exodus 20:7).  If you’re a Christian, that means you bear the name of Christ.  So, ask yourself this.  “Have I been trying to live like the world while claiming to be a Christian?”

 I’m not trying to judge you because I was in the same position.  But Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other.”  When you follow your fleshly desires, that’s like telling God that you hate Him.  “You cannot serve God and mammon (Matthew 6:24 italics mine).  If you follow Jesus, you’re doing otherwise.  It’s impossible to serve God and yourself at the same time.

 So, what will you do with this knowledge?  Knowing what Jesus says, will you accept Him and be a true follower?  Or will you claim to accept Him, and be a hypocritical texting Christian?  It’s your choice----what will you choose?