If I have learned one thing about waiting tables it is that the real high rollers feel no need to prove anything. They relax and expect to get what they pay for out of the meal.
I was working at an upstart fancy restaurant in an “old money” part of town. For my fellow non-Southerners, there is still a section of Birmingham society who lives off of old cotton, tobacco and steel money. Their fathers before them lived off this money and quite possibly the wealth went a generation or more back from their fathers. Suffice to say, the clientele were mainly filthy rich and they looked the part. The women wore designer dresses and the men wore bright-colored polos, white pants and loafers. We were set up in the middle of a gold mine in the midst of a recession. We still had a few lessons to learn, though.
Our dinners ranged from surprisingly slow to depressingly dismal. There were quite a few weeks I walked away with less money than I could make in a single night at my old restaurant and we could all feel the pressure mounting. We were in trouble.
Then one night out of the blue, we were jumping. It seemed like the beginning of big things. My section was full of old money patrons and the stench of failure was beginning to fade into the background.
As I went about my business, I kept noticing the same table seemed to have been ignored. The man was dressed, well, like I dress when I go out. He had a ragged shirt on and his jeans looked like they were on their last legs. His wife was similarly adorned. No gigantic jewelry or runway dress, just simple t-shirt and jeans. I must have walked by them four or five times before I stopped.
Have you been helped yet?
No sir, we haven’t.
They were not demanding. They were not impatient. They were not rude. They were just waiting. I took the table over from whichever comrade had apparently fallen in the line of duty and they turned out to be as sweet as they were simple. Nothing put on, nothing to prove.
And do you know at the end of the night, when the man pulled out his credit card, lo and behold, it was an American Express Black Card. This man who was being serially ignored by a restaurant full of hungry waiters could very well have bought a helicopter and flown it to his table- all charged to his card. We just hadn’t noticed him.
Is it not incredible that Jesus comes to us as a man? He has all the riches of Godhood at his disposal and he chooses to cast that all aside. Paul says that Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. Jesus, like Moses so many years before him, chooses that suffering with the people of God is greater wealth than all the treasures of Egypt. Jesus comes to us as one with absolutely nothing to prove.
I know for a fact that I would not come down to live with a bunch of flawed, fighting, ungrateful people. But Jesus did. He loved his enemies to the point that he made a public display of his love for us. He lived for us. Can you imagine that? God. Living for his people. As one of them.
We need imagine such a humble God no longer. Christ has come. He is here. For us. With nothing to prove but his love.