Tactics and Tools

The Ambassador and the Waitress

Author Greg Koukl Published on 02/21/2013

Sometimes being a good representative of the Kingdom hinges on the simplest things.

We talk a lot at STR about what it means to be an ambassador for Christ (remember 2 Corinthians 5:20?). You might have wondered how this works out in the nuts and bolts of daily life. It occurred to me that sometimes being a good representative of the Kingdom hinges on the simplest things, almost trivial.

Let me give you an example from my own life.

I have had some of the most interesting conversations about spiritual matters with ordinary people who serve my table in restaurants. Since any contact with others is an opportunity to be an ambassador, I try to keep an eye open for what might turn out to be a “divine appointment.”

This is something you can do, too. Here are some ways to set the stage to engage them in a friendly way.

First, find out the server’s name.

This is simple if they’re wearing a name tag. If not, simply ask. If it’s a unique name or suggests some ethnic history, ask about it. It’s a friendly thing to do—even flattering—and will help you remember their name better.

The second thing to do: Leave a decent tip. (The after-church crowd is notorious for stiffing the restaurant help.)

There’s one last thing I do, and it may be the most important. As I’m walking out, I make a point to find the waiter or waitress and simply say, “Thank you.” It’s a small gesture, but I want their last impression of me to be as pleasant as their first.

What’s the real goal behind this modest effort? Simply this: People are important to the Lord, and if they are important to Him, they should be important to you and me.

Addressing a person by their name and showing genuine appreciation for service are simple ways to show that they are valued. This speaks volumes about the One you represent. Never underestimate the role of simply being warm and pleasant.

How do they know I’m a Christian? Maybe they don’t. However, since we always bow our heads to give thanks at our table, and the server may overhear snatches of conversation about spiritual things, it’s certainly possible they’ll make the connection. The last thing I want anyone to do is associate my prayer or my Bible or my Christian tract with rudeness, stinginess, or a demanding, high-maintenance customer.

It may be that we never get around to spiritual matters—in point of fact, we usually don’t. Even so, I still want to leave behind a “fragrant aroma” for the sake of Christ. That’s one of the reasons Paul says in Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus”—that is, as His representative and consistent with His wishes.