Open for business

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My brother-in-law came through town the other night and invited me to grab dinner with him.

My wife and kids were out doing youth group things for the evening, so I had some time on my hands, and it was just going to be the two of us. It’s always good to have family in town, but I really enjoy hanging out with my brother-in-law and consider him a close friend.

We had a little trouble figuring out where to go. It was a Sunday night after 7 p.m., which left us uncertain as to which fine dining establishments would be open for business. We finally decided to simply drive through town and see what was available.

As we made our way through the thriving metropolis of Seymour, we quickly realized that there were many restaurants available to us, only compounding the difficulty of our decision. We finally settled on Bonanza Steak and BBQ. (Note: We did try to shop local, but they were closed.)

With the exception of a family party that was going on, the dining room was fairly empty. Our server was very attentive, keeping drinks filled and plates clear. We had a great time enjoying good food and conversation.

Time is no respecter of good company or conversation, and before we knew it, the staff began preparing to shut down shop for the night. I looked down at my watch and there were only 15 minutes to closing time. As we began working up the motivation to exit, the doors opened and a couple entered.

There is nothing more deflating than having customers show up when you’re on the verge of shutting it down. Having served in the food industry in the past, I was curious as to how the exchange would play out between the hostess and the hungry customers-to-be.

She politely welcomed the couple to the restaurant and asked if it was just the two of them or if more would be joining them. They indicated that it would just be the two of them, if it wasn’t too late. The server, hearing the conversation, quickly jumped in to assure the would-be customers that they were more than welcome and that she would be happy to serve them.

As the couple made their way through the salad bar, they commented on how impressed they were at the level of service. The food was good, but it was the willingness of the staff to give their best effort all the way to the end of their shift and beyond that made the biggest impact.

Every day, we are presented with numerous opportunities. It is up to us to decide whether or not we will be open to those opportunities and how we will perform when the time comes. Those opportunities don’t always come in the ways or at the times when we want them. It falls to us to decide whether we will dig deeper and work a little harder in order to make a bigger and better impact, or if we’ll just cruise to the end, simply trying to do our time.

In Galatians 6:9, Paul writes, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” We must be careful not to allow fatigue and frustration determine the actions and attitudes we exhibit.

It is easy to become discouraged, annoyed, apathetic or even angry toward the people and situations we deal with day in and day out. We may be tempted to think that it isn’t worth the effort.

The truth, however, is that we don’t know what our push to do a little more good might mean for those who are on the receiving end. Further, we don’t know the impact and encouragement we might bring to those we encounter.

I know I walked out of Bonanza the other night with a little more joy in my heart and a little more pride in the people in my community, all because they stayed open for business a little bit longer than required.

The Rev. Dr. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at jeremysmyers.com. Send comments to [email protected].

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