Please open up your Bible as we get ready to learn: what can a good table waiter teach us about our faith? According to David Timms, author of “Sacred Waiting,” there are two ingredients of good waiter or waitress:
1. Presence. A good waiter, first of all, is present with the customer. They check up on the customer. The customer doesn’t have to look around and wonder where they are. The second characteristic of a good table waiter or waitress is:
2. Service. A good waiter or waitress serves you. When you need something like a fork or napkin they get it for you. They take your order and then bring that order to you- A Monster burger, Large plate of fries, and a diet coke.
So what are the characteristics of a good table waiter or waitress: They are present with you, and they serve you. What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? As a follower of Jesus, what are we to do?
Presence. Like a good waiter is present with their customer, we have the great privilege of walking through life in the presence of Jesus. A great example of this is found is Genesis 5:24: “…Enoch walked faithfully with God…” Enoch walked faithfully with the Lord for 300 years. The word “walk” here refers to a steady, ongoing relationship with God, where he grew closer to God each year. He didn’t come to church on Sunday and go home and not talk to the Lord untill the following Sunday. He walked and talked with God every moment of every day.
One day as Enoch was walking with God on earth, God transported him to heaven before the flood, just as the church will be raptured to heaven before the tribulation begins. When I think of Enoch’s walk with God, I think of something that William MacDonald once said: “To walk with God is the business of a lifetime, not just the performance of an hour.” Are you walking with God as you drive, as you work, during your hobbies? Imagine if at the end of your life, it was said about you: “Bill walked faithfully with God all his life. Jenny walked faithfully with God all her life.”
The first opportunity of being a follower of Jesus is to walk with God on a moment-by-moment basis.
When I think about walking with God, I think of our church’s mission. We call it the Process and we read it every Sunday. “We desire to be a safe place for people to be in process and place where everyone realized they are in process. None of us have arrived.” So what is the process? We call them the ABC’s.
- Accept the invitation of Jesus
- Become an imitation of Jesus
- Contribute to the mission of spreading the love of Jesus to our world.
Notice the A in the ABC’s: Accept the invitation of Jesus. Now what is His invitation?
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Notice carefully that the invitation is to come to Him. When we come to Him, we accept the gift of salvation that He offers us, and we begin a lifelong relationship with Him. Notice the phrase: Come to me. When we give our life to Jesus, we put our faith in Him. Christianity is not about rules, religion, or rituals, it’s a relationship with God through Jesus.
Notice the phrase: all who labor and are heavy laden. In order to begin a relationship with Jesus we must admit that our life is burdened with Sin. We must admit that we have broken God’s law. In short, a life apart from God weighs us down.
Notice, “I will give you rest.” When we admit our sins and believe in Jesus, He gives us a gift called Grace. We can rest from trying to earn our way into Heaven, because His grace shown on the cross is our ticket to a relationship with Him. Are you resting in God’s grace, or are you still trying to earn your way into a relationship with Jesus?
“Take my yoke upon you.” We’ve probably all seen a picture of two oxen yoked together. When we enter into a relationship with Jesus, we become yoked to Him. Isn’t that amazing? You’re not alone today. If you are a follower of Jesus, you are yoked to Jesus.
“Learn from me.” As we walk with Jesus through this life while being yoked with Him, we learn from Him. We are His disciples. A disciple is a learner.
“For I am humble and gentle.” Note carefully that Jesus is described as humble and gentle, in contrast to the Pharisees who were harsh and proud. Are you like Jesus, humble and gentle? Or are you like the Pharisees who were harsh and proud?
“You will find rest for your souls.” In other words, we can move from being restless to rested because we are yoked with Jesus. When we are yoked to Jesus we can rest from worry, because we know God is in control. When we are yoked to Jesus we can stop trying to earn God’s approval, because we know we are already love by Him. When we are yoked to Jesus, we can rest from trying to get our identity from our figure, our finances or our family – because our identity comes from being yoked to Christ. If you have come to Jesus and turned your life and the care of it over to Him, you are yoked with Jesus.
You say, I feel so alone. You are not alone. You are yoked with Jesus. He is your constant companion. Now maybe you have been ignoring your constant companion, but make no mistake about it: you are yoked with Jesus.
Imagine if we went through out our day with an awareness of God’s presence. Imagine if we prayed our way through the day. Imagine if we saw worship not just on Sunday, but moment-by-moment. Imagine if it was said about you and me what was said about Enoch – that we walked faithfully with God. Now since you are yoked to Him, talk to Him all day long!
1 Thessalonians 5: 17 “…pray continually…”
How do we pray continually? It doesn’t mean you have to close your eyes when you drive. What it means is that we carry on a continual conversation with the Lord as we go through the day. A good example of this is Brother Lawrence, who was a lay monk who lived in France in the early 1600’s.The lay monks did all of the hard work of the monastery. Brother Lawrence was older when he became a monk, and suffered constant pain from a war wound which had left him partially lame. He was assigned to work in the kitchen, which he hated.
Brother Lawrence was totally miserable. He was convinced that God was punishing him for all of his past sins by making him work in the kitchen. Then one night in his prayer time he broke down, accepted his lot, and reconciled himself to God’s will. From this time forward he consciously tried to walk before God in faith with humility and love. Brother Lawrence determined to live his entire life as an expression of his relationship with God, and he began to do everything out of love for God instead of duty. He focused his attention on God moment-by-moment.He is quoted to have said, “The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer, and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.”
The monks who lived with Brother Lawrence noticed the difference in him, and the word began to spread. People from surrounding villages came to visit with Brother Lawrence about his secret, which he called “the Practice of the Presence of God.” One of those people was the Abbott of Beaufort, who kept notes on four conversations and fifteen letters he and Brother Lawrence exchanged. After Brother Lawrence died, the Abbott published these notes under the title: The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence.
Just as a good waiter is present with the customer, we are to walk with God on a moment-by-moment basis because we are yoked with Him, and since we are yoked with Him, we talk with Him as we fold the laundry, walk the dog, or drive to work.
The first characteristic of a good waiter is Presence. The second one is Service. A good waiter is present with the customer and then take the customer’s order and fulfills it. It is the same in our walk with God. As we walk and talk with God through the day, He will give us assignments. Now here’s where many people in our culture have it wrong. They think God is here to serve them. God is here to make my life comfortable, happy, and rich. We act as if God is here to serve us, do what we tell Him to do, and when He doesn’t we get mad at Him. He is not here to serve us, we are here to serve Him. In fact, in the Lord prayer don’t we say: “Thy will be done, Thy kingdom come….” A great example of walking with God and serving Him is Jesus himself.
John 5:17-19 “In his defense Jesus said to them, ‘My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working…’”
God is at work all around you. He’s not just at work in this building, He’s at work at your work in your neighborhood, at your school. One of the benefits of this pandemic is it taught me that church is not limited to this building. Did you know we have an individual who lives in New York and considers this her church home? God is at work all around us, not just in the four walls of this church.
“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
So Jesus knew that God the Father was at work all around him. As he walked with his Father, he would watch to see where the Father was working and then join Him. As you walk with God, you’ll see where He’s at work and then your role as a table water for the Lord is to join Him in what He’s already doing.
David Timms summarizes the essence of Jesus earthy life: “His life was a constant experience of the Father’s presence, and a constant responsiveness to His leadings.”
How do we apply this to our life? How do we be like Enoch and walk faithfully with God? Please take out your phone and go to the notes section. Once there I want you to write down a Pocket Prayer, then save this prayer to your phone’s lock screen. So when you pull up your phone, this prayer is the first thing you see. I want you to do an experiment this week and pray the Pocket Prayer all day long. What’s the Pocket Prayer? I learned this from Pastor and author Max Lucado:
You are good.
I need your help.
They need your help.
Thank you in Jesus name.
Here is what I want you to do this week: Whenever you have a problem or a stressor, pray this prayer. Let’s say you are feeling anxious over Covid. What do you do?
Father. You remind yourself that you are walking through life with your Heavenly Father. You’re not alone, you’re safe in His arms.
You are good. Lord, thank You that You’re a Good Father. You are for me, not against me. You are Jehovah Rophe, my Healer. In You I live and move and have my being.
I need your help. Lord, I am experiencing pandemic fatigue. Please encourage my heart. Please find a cure for Covid.
They need your help. Lord, I lift up those who are battling this disease. I pray that You would give the doctors wisdom in treating it.
Thank you, in Jesus’ name. Lord, I ask all of this not on my merits but the merits of Jesus Christ and his shed blood for me. Thank You for carrying this burden for me. Thank You for going to work on this prayer request. I trust You.
Ok, let’s try it. What’s a problem you are facing? What’s a challenge that is keeping you up at night? Repeat after me: “Father… you are a good…I need your help…Thank you in Jesus name. Amen.” Now you’ve just asked God to help you with that problem. You are no longer facing it alone. Your role now is to go and serve Him. As you serve Him, you might start thinking about your problem, and that’s when you tell yourself, “wait a minute, I cast it on the Lord. I am not going to worry, I am going to worship. Lord thank You for being at work in this situation, I trust you.” So you go on with your day, and another problem or challenge comes along. What do you do? You look at your phone and go through the Pocket Prayer: “Father… you are a good…I need your help…Thank you in Jesus name. Amen.” Your get home after work, and a problem and challenge comes up, and you say, God it is me again. “Father… you are a good…I need your help…Thank you in Jesus name. Amen.” You say Steve, if I do this, I will be talking to God all day long. Isn’t that the point?
1 Thessalonians 5: 17 “…pray continually…”
Let’s review. What can a table waiter teach us about our relationship with Jesus? A good waiter is present with you and serves you. In a similar way, our purpose in life to walk with God and be present with Him, and as we walk with Him, He will tell us what we are to do to serve Him.
Imagine if we prayed our way through the day because we are yoked with Jesus. Imagine if talking and walking with God was not just a Sunday thing, but a moment-by-moment thing. Imagine the peace we might experience if whenever a problem, worry or difficulty came our way, we look at our phone and prayed the pocket prayer!
God, I lift up your beloved flock at CCC. Please capture and captive their hearts. O God, help us to walk with you on a moment-by-moment basis. Lord, forgive us for often going through out day and neglecting to even acknowledge You. Please help us not believe the lie that we’re too busy for You. Help us to combat the lies of the devil that say we are too busy for our devotions, our worship, and praying to You.
Lord, as we walk with You and talk with You, open our eyes to see what You want to do through us. Forgive us for seeing You as our servant, and help us to see ourselves as Your servant. O God, remove selfishness from our hearts that says we are here to be served, and instead help us to see ourselves as Your servants. Father, you are good. I need your help. The people of CCC need your help. Thank you, in Jesus’ name.
Maybe today you are far from God. You don’t know Him, you know about Him. Maybe you once walked with Him, but know you are apart from Him, and you can sense Him pulling on your strings saying, “come to Me. Come to Me.” If that is you, please pray this prayer: “God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”