I’m sure I know the answer but I am going to ask anyway: have you ever treated someone badly because they weren’t perfect, or didn’t meet your expectations? Specifically, have you ever been rude (to call it what it is – a jerk) to someone in the hospitality or service industry because you felt like you were better than them?
It may not just be through words but through actions as well. Leaving a hotel room totally trashed. Not tipping your hard-working server, or leaving your table completely messy. Speaking harshly or being overly critical to someone merely doing their job.
We’ve all done it. Somehow, we have decided that some jobs are better than others and that if we are “white collar” then we deserve more respect than those who are “blue collar” even though our world couldn’t function well without BOTH collars.
I bring this up because I recently chose to go back to work and chose (on purpose) a job that is mostly behind-the-scenes and not glamorous. I’ve never been in a service role before but I am enjoying serving and helping people in these mostly unnoticed ways.
Already, my short stint in the hospitality industry has been eye-opening and I cannot believe how people treat people.
Most of the time, customers are kind to us and respectful. However, I have also seen many of my coworkers treated poorly by those who seemingly think they are of a higher class than others.
Just because someone chooses a position that provides a service to others doesn’t mean that they aren’t intelligent, educated, well-rounded, etc. It definitely doesn’t mean that they are beneath you. Just because their mistakes might be more obvious than yours doesn’t mean they aren’t as good as you. They are worthy of your respect. They clean up your messes, serve your meals, wash your dishes. The least you can do is be kind.
You have no idea what your server has accomplished in their past. You don’t know their story. You have no idea what degrees they have, what brought them to this job, what goals they are trying to reach by working in such a role. You have no idea who they are or why they are there. Grace should be the rule, but it seems to be the exception.
For example, I have a bachelor’s degree and so do most of my co-workers. God has allowed me to do some pretty awesome things in my life thus far. I have always had jobs that required intelligence, reason, and research. I’m only back at work because my daughter died this year.
And yet, I CHOSE to roll towels, wash dishes and sandals, to clean up after people, and to help people find their way around the building for my current job. I chose a role that would mostly go unnoticed and that focuses on serving people because I enjoy it. It brings joy to others, and that fills my heart with joy in return.
But, some don’t see that. I can see it in the eyes of some of our customers: they think they are better than we are and treat us as if we are their lowly servants. And then I realize that I have acted that way at times in the past and I am humbled.
The bottom line is this: if you claim to be a follower of Jesus, then you need to remember that He loved the “least of these” and chose them to be His earthly companions. The very ones to which you are being rude are the ones Jesus called His friends.
If you love and follow Jesus, you are not allowed to be a jerk.
I don’t care if you are the CEO of a company, a millionaire, or the president – you treat everyone with respect. You aren’t better than anyone else, despite what you may think.
The Bible has a lot to say about this:
1 John 4:7, 8, 18-19
1 John 3:16-18
Luke 6:31, 35
Romans 12:9, 13:10
Ephesians 4:2, 5:1-2, 15; 6:9
1 Peter 4:8
My challenge is this: treat those in positions of service well. Ask them questions about their lives. Assume the best. Offer grace. They are made in God’s image just like you are and they deserve to be treated with kindness. Jesus said so.
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