I have a son who works as a barista by day and an artist by night. I used to think I wanted to quit my job as a pastor and become a barista. I mistakenly thought a barista could make coffee and go home at the end of a shift and leave all the coffee grounds and chai lattes behind. I was wrong.
What I have learned through listening to his stories is that people seem to think that because you are willing to work at a job that serves others, you must be willing to be treated like a slave. The stories are unending about rude people and cheats. It is amazing to me that some people try to cheat at buying coffee! And that some people repeatedly try to cheat the same baristas at the same coffee shop is beyond my capacity to imagine.
I have a theory.
We are very skilled at disrespecting those we view as beneath us. We simply do not see people we do not value. And although we evidently value our $4.00 cups of java, it seems we do not value those who have learned to make them with such consistent expertise, including the pretty swirling foam on top.
Jesus would be appalled at this behavior on the part of people who buy coffee.
He would say, “Hold on a second. The servers are me. I came not to be served, but to serve. When you talk smack to your local barista, baby, you are speaking to me.”
And if obedience is harmony with God and a reflection of God, then these patient baristas who choose kindness over spitting into your coffee as an act of revenge are not only practicing good customer service, they are the hands of God.
The next time you are tempted to not tip a barista, because, after all, “it’s their job to serve you,” consider this: when we serve, we are actually doing the work of God.
In this account, do you feel more like the barista or the bossy coffee purchaser? Whatever rung of life you find yourself on today, there is someone below you on the step. How are you loving those who serve you? Remember, in the kingdom of God the world order is shaken and stirred. Maybe the guy who appears to be below you on the ladder of success is a more authentic representation of the kingdom of God then….the rest of us.