Volume. XXIX, No. 28
Sunday, 11 January 2015


From the Pastors Heart: In Someone Elses Shoes


I recently came across an article about a couple leaving a hundred dollars for a waiter who served them.  A married couple, Makenzie and Steven Schultz went to a restaurant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA, to celebrate their sixth wedding anniversary.  The meal they had for the occasion cost them $66.65, and they left $100 for a tip.  As far as I understand, it has been practiced for some time in America that customers in restaurants leave tips, about 15% of the cost of their order for lunch and 20% for dinner.  Even if we say that this couple had a dinner, $14-15 would be more than enough to show their appreciation for the service they had received.  However, they left $100 just for a tip!  Then our minds will quickly run to think of the reason(s) why they were overly generous.  I could think of at least four reasons: (1) They had received superb and incomparably good services from the waiter.  He truly made the day for them.  They were so impressed that they could not but give him tips super-generously.  (2) It was an error, and they left such a large sum of money by mistake.  (3) They were just very rich people and wanted to show off their wealth in such a flashy way.  Or, (4) It was a way for them to celebrate their wedding anniversary after all!  The news article shows that none of my guesses is correct but proven to be all wrong.  The service they received that night was terrible.  I would not quote their words directly because they are not really suitable for my use.  The service that night was very poor.  How poor was poor?  MaKenzie wrote about her experience as following: “Took 20 minutes to get water, 40 minutes for an appetizer and over an hour for our entrée.  People all around us were making fun of the restaurant and how bad the service was.  Yeah, it was pretty terrible.”  Makenzie further explained that the problem was not the waiter. “It was very obvious that the issue was being short staffed, not the server.  He was running around like crazy and never acted annoyed with any table,” she continued. “At one point we counted he had 12 tables plus the bar. More than any one person could handle! As I sat there and watched him run back & forth and apologize for the wait, I said to Steven... ‘Wow, this used to be us.’  Waiting tables.  I don't miss it at all and I never loved that job.  I did it for the tips.”  According to this news article, this couple met while working at a restaurant as waiter and waitress.  They knew the difficulty the waiter facing during that night.  They thought that the waiter would not be able to receive any tip for the night, which could be a disaster for him.  They deliberately left $100 and wrote on the bill, “We’ve both been in your shoes. Paying it forward.”  On their credit card payment slip, they wrote $100 for gratuity and signed. 

 

I wonder how you feel about the story, the couple, bad services, tip, and the waiter.  As for me, it was a perfect example or application of the Golden Rule to our daily life.  Matthew 7:12 says, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”  What this biblical principle says is, “Put yourselves in someone else’s shoes, and do right.”  We, human beings, are inevitably self-centered.  In a way, we cannot say that such a trait is always negative and bad.  It is because it will prepare us for self-preservation.  It will make us keep distanced from dangers or unnecessary distractions.  However, the overall impact of this self-centeredness has worked against us more negatively, if not detrimentally.  The self-centeredness of Adam and Even caused them to break the commandment of God and to be chased out from the Paradise.  Think of Cain who killed his own brother Abel.  “Why me, or why not me?” has been almost like a propaganda of our self-centered and self-esteemed society.  “Me, only me” is the motto of such society and community.  We are too busy to think of others because we are too busy with ourselves.  Thus, we have neglected and missed all opportunities to think of others and their needs.  All conflicts and problems are coming from such a mindset we have.  James describes quite unpleasant conditions of life, work, and relationships in James 4:1-2, which says, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain  . . .”  Me-centered selfishness of man brings all the troubles we experience.  We will be even more surprised if we know that the readers of this epistle were believers.  They were not just ordinary believers but persecuted believers who were strong in faith and willing to take trials and difficulties for Christ’s sake.  However, they could not overcome their selfish attitude toward one another and fought against each other.  It seems that selfishness is powerful enough to cancel all Christian ethics, morality, and virtues.  I wonder how much difference we could have made, if we have put ourselves into others’ shoes.  Exodus 22:21 says, “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”  It is the same as saying, “put yourselves into their shoes.”  The children of Israel were under the bondage of the Egyptians, and after all, they were strangers in Egypt.  They experienced sorrows, unreasonable persecutions, merciless acts from their masters, and many agonizing trials even to the extent that they were commanded to kill all boy-babies.  They knew what it was meant to be strangers.  Now, they were free from the bondage and they could make their life more flourishing and abundant.  In this happy prospect, God told them to put themselves into the strangers’ shoes and to be compassionate to them.  Deuteronomy 16:11-12 says the same thing: “And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there. 12 And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes.” 

 

We find many stories of people who have put themselves in others’ shoes.  In fact, we find these stories demonstrating a universal virtue of mankind regardless of religion or culture.  For example, a Pharaoh’s daughter found a baby in a floating basket in the Nile River.  She knew that it was a Hebrew baby, who was supposed to have been killed according to his own father’s command.  However, Exodus 2:6 says that she had compassion on him.  She not only rescued him from the water but also educated and raised him as her own son.  She put herself in Moses’ and his mother’s shoes and was compassionate.  Prophet Jeremiah has been known as a weeping prophet.  He wept and lamented in Jeremiah 9:1, “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!  Jeremiah himself was promised protection by the Lord.  He would not be taken into captivity, but his people would.  As a preacher of truth and righteousness, he knew that his people deserved harsh judgments from the Lord.  However, he cried for them.  His tears were not for his own suffering but for his people.  He put himself into their shoes and could not but cry for them.  Jesus put Himself in our shoes and willingly suffered for our sins.  As a result, we are redeemed. 

 

I have seen many people’s trials, sorrows, miseries, unhappiness, insecurity, and many negative experiences they have suffered with.  They hurt others and are also hurt by them.  They are both offenders and victims.  Having seen many of their struggles, I wonder if they can relive their pain and suffering simply by putting themselves in others’ shoes.  If children put themselves in their parents’ shoes, husbands and wives in each others’ shoes, employers in employees’, pastors into their congregations, and vice versa, how much happier we all will be!  I am sure that the waiter who unexpectedly received a large sum of money for a tip on that terribly busy and frustrating night must be speechless at the end of the day and very thankful for the tip.  It all happened because of a couple who put themselves in the waiter’s shoes.  I wish that all of us will do the same thing.

 

Lovingly,

Your Pastor


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Bro Daniel Volvricht. Next Lord’s Day: Bro John Wong.

*History of Thoughts Class - All are encouraged to attend.

*Evening Services will be conducted on the 1st & 2nd Sundays of the month from Feb onwards.

*All Bible study groups & fellowship activities will resume in February.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard copy of the Lively Hope.

2. Church activities in the past week.

3. Visitors & new worshippers.

4. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

 

Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing – Please refer to hard copy of the Lively Hope.

2. Special Prayer: Sis Yashu Qin’s father (Wuhan).

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis Wol Hee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim going to China & Malaysia for missions (17 Jan - 17 Feb)

5. Cambodia Missions - Rev David Koo & ministry; Life University (Sihanoukville); & Khmer pastors & families.

6. Other missions: Sis Ang Liang Phoa & ministry; Filadefia BPC (Batam).

7. New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok - UK visa application & approval.

8. Providence B-P Church, Mawson Lakes - Ps David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

9. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

10. Journey mercies: Please refer to hard copy of the Lively Hope.

11. Health in pregnancy: Sis Emily Zheng.

12. Those grieving the loss of loved ones in the Paris bombings & AirAsia QZ8501 tragedy.

13. Bushfire & flood victims in Australia.

14. Sis Wendy Liang to settle down in Bundaberg & find a church to attend.

15. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

16. Jobs: Those seeking for jobs in Adelaide.

17. Believers suffering in Islamic & communist countries.

18. Australia: People to repent & to come to Christ.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063