Have you ever noticed that sometimes breakfast seems much better at night? I recall a “special” night a couple of years ago when Shirley and I went to that internationally known restaurant “IHOP.” It has nothing to do with bunnies, I hope. When asked “Smoking or non-smoking” I replied VERY non-smoking. So they seated us in the second booth on the right… just one aisle away from the smoking section. It was okay though, since no one was in the smoking section. I ordered FRESH coffee and two eggs over medium. That means the yellow is just a little runny. Before the meal arrived they seated someone in the smoking section, just across the isle, who smoked like a coal burner approaching Fancy Gap. At that point all I could do is fan and wait it out.
Next, they seated DIRECTLY behind us a young family with a young child who was having an EXTREMELY loud bad day. They brought my coffee, which must have been two days old… it was that bitter. My two eggs were brown… SOLID brown and my toast was black. To top all that they seated another young couple with a fussy child beside us. We quickly finished our meal, as we flinched from the screams behind us and beside us, and headed for the cashier. I was thinking to myself “I can’t wait for him to ask me how things were. Because I am going to TELL him about the coffee, smoke, two screaming children, burnt eggs and toast. I am going to let them have it.” We got to the cashier and he took my money and did NOT say one word. I just stood there waiting for him to “make my day.”
Why did I want to unload on that cashier? Could it be because everything in that restaurant went against us? We wanted a nice pleasant meal consisting of food prepared the way we ordered it. We didn’t want smoke blowing across our table… I gave that up years ago. The way things were going, I am just glad we didn’t get robbed. I think I stewed about that night, off and on, for a day or so.
Then I had to start preparing for the Romans study I was teaching. The text we were dealing with had to do with how the redeemed of Christ were to behave. We are to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. We are not to be conformed to the patterns of this world, but transformed in the image of Christ.
When I started studying those verses I couldn’t help but think of how I wanted to VENT to that cashier. Maybe it was a good thing that young man didn’t give me a chance to say anything. I probably would have been conformed to the patterns of this world… the rage world. But what was expected of me, a Christian, was to be transformed in the image of Christ… to act as Christ would have acted in that very same set of circumstances. I am afraid I was not a very good representative of Christ that night. Even though I didn’t get to speak, I was not very Christ-like in my thoughts.
Maybe my example will be an example for you to remember not to follow. Before we get into conforming to the world let us think about being transformed in the image of Christ. In other words, before we act… before we speak, ask ourselves “What would Jesus have me do?”
Dear God, forgive me for being too much like the world and not enough like you. Remind me that the world needs to see examples of Christ in daily living… when his eggs and toast are burned…when his coffee is bitter… when there is smoke in his face and screaming children in his ears… let me be Christ even when on a cross. Amen.