Sunday, 20 October 2013
Whenever I go somewhere new it is interesting to compare past experience against new. As a Pastor I used to be comparing churches that I visited with the church in Ogmore-by-Sea. Always looking for the things that we did better but also for inspiration that would benefit our little church. But now that has all changed since I am now "only the manager of a cafe." I now make different comparisons.
Pam and I have for many years now enjoyed visiting coffee shops, but now our visits have taken on a whole new dimension. We look through different eyes. We know something of what goes on behind the scene. We know the pressures and the thrills of being the servant rather than the served. We can see where we do it better in the "Old Rusty" and where we could improve our customer service. A visit to a coffee shop now has become something of an extension of our work. I wa snever able to "switch off" as a Pastor but now it seems that wherever I go I am a coffee shop manager with much to learn. I never knew before that drinking coffee could ever be so important!
Our interests now are in the atmosphere of the tea room, the efficiency of the service, the friendliness of the staff, the quality of the equipment, the value for money of the product, what kind of music is played. You would not believe how it has changed asimple cup of coffee in a cafe for us. There is so much to discuss now. Coffee now takes second place to the mechanism as to how the coffee arrives at my table and what sort of experience my visit really is. A simple visit has become a great big deal. That is all to be expected and so we still enjoy the brown liquid in our cups and the rest on the seat provided, that is as log as the coffee is as good as ours and the seat is as comfortable.
As we discuss all of these things we go through a variety of emotions, concerns and attitudes. We are at times pleased and at others concerned. We so easily become pompous and proud when we believe that the "Old Rusty" is so much better but then at times we are jealous because the place that we are in has so much more to offer. Our comparisons of one against the other is now our main talking point when in a cafe. That is only to be expected, it was true when I was "only a Pastor." And now it is true of the "Coffee shop manager!"
There are other comparisons in life that are important; an old Puritan wrote the following words. They are both inspirational and challenging why not just for a few moments stop all other comparisons and reflect on what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you?
“Jesus Christ brought life to us but we brought death to Him! He brought to us a life of grace, a life of comfort, a life of glory but we brought shame to Him! He brought riches to us but we brought poverty to Him! He brought joy to us but we brought sorrow to Him! He put a crown of glory upon our heads but we put the crown of thorns upon His head! He does not think that heaven is too good for us but we thought that earth was too good for Him and would not let Him live here but put Him to death! He is not ashamed to own us before His Father but we are ashamed to own Him before men! He justifies us but we condemn Him! Oh sirs; think of your unkindness to Him and let the considerations of His infinite love and favour to you draw out your affection!”
William Dyer: The titles of Christ