Episode 1. Nothing Worse than Lousy Service
There’s nothing worse than going to a coffee shop for a good cuppa and getting bad service. And it turns out that we’re all in the service business one way or another. How we serve others, makes a difference. There’s nothing worse than going somewhere, a shop or a cafe or a restaurant, even a […]
There’s nothing worse than going to a coffee shop for a good cuppa and getting bad service. And it turns out that we’re all in the service business one way or another. How we serve others, makes a difference.
There’s nothing worse than going somewhere, a shop or a cafe or a restaurant, even a ride in a taxi and you get bad service. There’s this little cafe close to home where my wife, Jacqui and I, love going. We know the owner and we just get good coffee there. But there’s one woman that works there that’s so surly. She never smiles. She never says, “Hello.” She never recognises us. We have the same coffee every time and each time she asks us, “What will you have?” instead of saying, “Just the usual?”
Now everyone’s entitled to a bad day every now and then, and sometimes people are going through rough patches in their lives. But in this case, I’ve just come to the conclusion that this poor woman is in the wrong job. And you know, whatever we do and however we do it, we’re all somehow in the service business – at work, at home. The thing that makes society and the economy go round, is the fact that we all do things for other people. What a shame to spend your life serving other people, while all the time they’re looking at us thinking, “Boy isn’t that one in the wrong job!”
Over the last few weeks we’ve been looking at what it means to live the life that God always intended. We’re born, we eat, we sleep, we go to work and then we die and that’s life. It’s like that for all of us. And sure, there’s routine and there’s drudgery, like that woman in the coffee shop. I mean, I don’t think she wakes up every morning thinking, “Wow, it’s back to the coffee shop again! I just can’t wait until Berni and Jacqui come down so I can get their skim flat whites and their one muffin that they cut in half to share.”
I think it’s really sad. Life is for living and living has so much to do with serving other people. Just think about the economy again. We all make money by doing specialised things that other people can’t do. We do it for them, so we get paid and that’s how we make money. And other people do things for us that we can’t do, so they get paid and that’s how they make money.
It turns out, how much we enjoy serving others, has a lot to do with what we get out of life, whether it’s a paid job or a stay at home parent bringing up kids or whatever. There’s this important principle that says, “It’s not so much of what I pour into my life that gives me satisfaction, but it’s what I pour out of my life, what I give, what I sacrifice.”
Now, a lot of people aren’t good at giving or serving. And in a sense, you know, just quietly between you and me, we can all be a bit selfish sometimes, can’t we? But when we serve other people, it makes such an incredible difference, not just in their lives, which is wonderful, enough but in our lives.
I want to tell you about a startling piece of service that I received recently; in fact it started a few months ago. For the last quarter of a century I’ve been using the same, pre-electric shave lotion. Now Berni’s not much into lotions and potions, I have to tell you, but this lotion just makes the horrible job of shaving every morning a bit more pleasant. And I went to a few of the big department stores that normally stock this thing and they were completely out.
Now you know department stores these days, they have hardly any staff on, particularly during the week and it’s pretty hard sometimes to get any service, let alone good service. But this woman, Margaret, she said, “Well there’s none there and we normally have some. Mr Dymet I’ll investigate it for you and give me your phone number and I’ll call you back.”
“Yeah, right.” Who’s been called back by someone who works in a department store lately? Doesn’t happen very often does it? It turned out there was some new packaging and so this stuff wasn’t available for a few months but the miracle is, within two days she actually called me back to tell me. Well that was the last I heard and she said it will be available in a few months time and that was it.
But just the other day, four months later, my phone rings, “Mr Dymet it’s Margaret here, from the department store. Those things you were after, they’ve just come in. Now we haven’t got many and they’re half the price they used to be, so would you like me to set a couple of bottles aside for you? That should keep you going for a couple of years.”
Can you believe that? I was completely gob-smacked! It is so rare these days to get that sort of service out of anyone.
I keep telling people about it. And it’s like that right across life – at work, at school, at home – people are rushing around, they’re just in it for themselves. People don’t much want to serve one another anymore. So when we serve them, really serve them, exceed their expectations, go the extra mile, it stands out from the crowd. It speaks volumes about what we think of them. It touches them and they tell other people, just like I just told you about Margaret. Margaret’s story has now gone around eighty countries across the world because she went the extra mile.
My kind of service is not working in a shop or a café. I spent seventeen years as a consultant in the Information Technology industry and some days were really hard. But the satisfaction came from helping clients through really difficult projects, getting to the end knowing that I’d played a small part and I’d brought the things I know I could bring and work with other people with unique skills and help to guide the project to successful conclusion.
Come on! Jesus said:
I’m the Son of God and I came not to be served but to serve. (Matthew 20:28)
Jesus always turns our selfishness upside down; it’s why a lot of people got upset with Him when He was wandering around Galilee and Judea. Jesus has this way putting His finger on something and going right to the nub of it. He is the Son of God, He had every right to come to be served and not to serve and He said, “No, no actually I didn’t come to be served, I came to serve you, to give my life as a ransom for many.” We know He did, what an amazing concept!!
But what about us giving our lives, to serve other people? It’s going to cost something. It means that I’m not the centre of the universe anymore; it means that some days it won’t be convenient; it means that some days it will hurt; it means that some days people may not appreciate or even notice that we’re serving them. But Jesus is saying:
Be like me. I gave my life up for you. I gave up my rights for you. I gave up all the glory that I’m entitled, for you to let some men beat me and spit on me, nail me on the cross so that you could have eternal life.
That’s God. That’s Jesus. And when we live that life of service, we end up bringing Jesus to people. We end up touching them with His love. And the crazy thing is, we try and cling onto our lives, our comforts and our rights and life’s hollow, it’s empty. Those who try and save their lives will lose them but when we pour ourselves out for others – lose our rights and comforts and entitlements – and all of a sudden life becomes richer and more meaningful and real. Those who lose their lives for Jesus’ sake will gain them (Luke 17:33).
The rest of this week on the program, we’ll look at some really practical ways that we can serve others, that not only blesses them in the most amazing way, but in doing, that blesses us. In taking the risk and stepping out saying, “Jesus, I’m prepared to lay down my life for You. I’m prepared not to have the last say in an argument. I’m prepared not to win. I’m prepared to lose for You. I’m prepared to be no-one for You. I’m prepared to lose my reputation for You” – take that sort of a step, that sort of life and all of a sudden we’re living the life that God always intended.