He said, “Hello, My name is Juan. I am the manager.” He immediately began showing me around the restaurant and asked if I had any questions. I couldn’t believe it. I wondered if he had mistaken me for someone else. He pointed out the carving stations, the salad bar, the dessert and the beverage islands.
He told me that if I needed anything, to ask for him by name. This happened in metropolitan Los Angeles a few years back. It was my first visit to the area. I was pretty impressed. The personal tour came right after I told the cashier that I had never been to the restaurant before. The manager appeared out of thin air.
This royal welcome is what you might expect from gourmet eateries. The lofty prices justify the extravagant service. So you can imagine my shock when I experienced this at a Hometown Buffet. I was looking for a cheap place to eat with lots of options. Nothing says that better than an “all you can eat” buffet.
The server came up to take my drink order, and a Diet Coke appeared. I got in line to get my hand-carved, roasted turkey. It was delicious. I suddenly understood what it felt like to be somebody important. I was on the outskirts of Hollywood, where celebrity and fame are worshipped, and I was getting the red-carpet trea tment.
When was the last time you found yourself being treated like someone special? So many people are walking around today believing that they don’t matter. Maybe that’s why these serendipitous moments catch us by surprise. Yet, as Christians, they shouldn’t.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul writes, “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were powerful; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.” It suggests that in Christ, God has made all of us into people of significance.
His point was that God chose ordinary people like us to receive the message of the Gospel. He chose us because that is what he does. He lifts us up and gives our lives meaning and significance. Have you heard the song “Nobody” by the Christian group Casting Crowns? The lyrics go like this:
“Why You ever chose me has always been a mystery. All my life I’ve been told I belong at the end of the line.” It continues, “When I hear that devil start talking to me saying, ‘Who do you think you are?’ I say, ‘I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody, all about Somebody who saved my soul!’”
You see, it is not about who we are. It is about who God is. God’s like that restaurant manager. He wants the world to know how much he cares. God chooses people like you and me to spread the word. Are you up for the challenge? The world needs us now more than ever. So let’s get out on the red carpet and share the Good News!
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.