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Working Out the Working In

How the church displays what God is doing in its midst


Let's suppose that our music minister Daniel and I get together for lunch to talk over some of the special services we're planning this month. We agree to meet at a coffee shop.

We walk in, and I get ready to signal "two" to the hostess, but she's not looking at me. She's looking down, because the manager is scolding her. We hear him say, "How many times have I told you not to seat people until the table is cleared? Wait until it's bussed and wiped! That's not too hard to remember, is it? Don't let it happen again!"

He walks away, and I signal her "two." She grabs a couple of menus and says, "Follow me." As we walk toward a table, she says, "He's such an idiot. He got promoted to manager last month, and he thinks he's such a big shot. Well, he's not; he's turning everybody off. Two waitresses have quit, and I know two more who are thinking of it. I'm talking to a temp agency. Here's your table. Notice it's cleared off!" The hostess leaves.

Soon our waitress comes by. "Hasn't your busboy brought water yet?" she asks. "Tsk! I don't know why I have to do his work and mine, too. Alex, can you get some waters and table settings here!" Then she says to us, "I'll give you a couple of minutes to look over the menu, and then I'll come back for your order."

The busboy comes by with the waters and table settings. As he's laying them out, he says, "She's supposed to share her tips with me, but I think she's stiffing me. When I clean up her tables, I see what people ordered. I know what kind of tips she should get. She's supposed to give me a percentage of that, but I think she's stiffing me. I've half a mind to let her set her own tables." He leaves.

In a minute the waitress comes back and asks, "What will you have?"

I order ...

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Donald Sunukjian is Homiletics Chair and Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California.

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