To Serve First
At a party with my son the other day, we found ourselves eating by a corner. It was a full house. Part of the gift table was rearranged to accommodate our meal.
A waiter approached, “Is there anything you need? Juice? Water? Ice cream? Anything?”
“Juice please,” my son said. And the juice came.
Another waiter approached, “Anything we can do for you?”
“We’re ok,” I said.
Then a third waiter came. “Let me refill your juice,” he said. “We can bring the desert you want. Is there anything you want?”
“Dad,” my son asked, “How come all these people know you?” He was amazed at the level of service we were receiving. It might have felt to him that he was seated beside a superstar.
“No,” I explained. “These people were your dad’s patients.” I explained that when dad was starting his medical practice, when there were too few patients, dad would go on informal clinics to cater to those who cannot afford proper medical care. In return, I remember receiving bread, rice, a chicken… anything was welcome. Even when there was no money, I was finally bringing home food!
My reasons for doing these clinics were partly to keep my clinical skills sharp, and partly to push away boredom. Nothing kills a doctor’s enthusiasm like an open but empty clinic.
“They’re just expressing their thanks,” I explained. While they were at minimum wage back then, they’re senior waiters now. And when they would want to express their gratitude now, they do so through what they do best — through excellent service.
It was an A-HA! moment for my son. “That’s so cool, dad!” he gushed. And you can see the sparkles in his eyes, proud of sitting beside his father, enjoying the royal treatment.
Nothing is as gratifying as a son that is proud of his father.
I whispered, “When you grow up, remember what Jesus did. He served first rather than be served. Go and do likewise.”