Service With a Smile?
By: Mary Elder-Criss
Another exhausting day of shopping was over, and as I entered the house laden with packages, I stopped only long enough to kick my shoes off my aching feet. Navigating the step into the kitchen, I toss a greeting to my family in the general direction of the living room. I then attempt to maneuver down the narrow hall to my bedroom, where I stow the gifts until I can muster enough energy to begin wrapping.
Plopping down beside my husband on the couch, I sigh wearily.
“Tough day shopping?” he inquires. My groan in response says it all.
“Crowds?” he asked.
“Ugh.” I reply.
“Whining children?” A shudder passes through my body.
“Monotonous Christmas carols blared across the loudspeakers?”
“If I never hear Jingle Bells again, it will be too soon,” I respond.
“Grouchy clerks?” He continued to interrogate smugly, since he was the fortunate one who got to sit home by the fireplace, while I braved the crowds.
Lightly punching him in the arm, as a warning, I groan in response, “The grouchiest ever. Whatever happened to service with a smile?”
“I think that probably ended the day after Thanksgiving.” My husband replied.
“Well it sure was missing today, I can testify to that. You know, it’s really kind of sad. Here it is, only a couple of days before Christmas, and everyone is so weary and tired from the stress of finding the perfect gift. No one seems to have any Christmas cheer whatsoever. Every time I even wished someone a Merry Christmas, they looked at me as if I had lost my mind.”
“Hmmm,” he says in response, and I knew the conversation was over. There was a football game on, and our chat had suddenly become less important than the players scrambling on the field.
“O.k., then. You enjoy your game. I’m going to go grab a cup of hot chocolate and wrap these gifts before the kids start poking through them.”
An air kiss and a grunt were my response.
Surrounded by presents, wrapping paper and tape, I begin the monotonous chore before me. Yet, although my hands are busy, my mind is busier still.
“Whatever happened to service with a smile?” The words echoed inside my skull. As someone who had worked retail for approximately thirteen years before becoming a full time mother, I remembered the number one rule of customer service well. “Be cheerful, be friendly, and be courteous. The customer IS our paycheck. They are the reason that we even have a job, and as such, we need to remember their importance.”
“Well, obviously, this wasn’t in evidence today,” I thought. Although part of me understood, and even sympathized, as it is a tiring job, I was still saddened by the lack of Christmas cheer as well. “Of course, I sure didn’t see many customers looking exceedingly joyful either.”
Reflecting further, Bible verses suddenly popped into my head. “Do all things without murmuring or disputing.” Philippians 2:14. “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” 1 Peter 4:9, and last but not least, Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”
Reasonable service. Today, among the hustle, the bustle, the crowds, and the carols, whining children, grouchy salespeople, all I longed for was service with a smile. I felt that was only reasonable.
Perhaps God feels the same way about His children. He is after all, the reason we have eternal life.
Cringing inwardly, I think of situations in which I had been asked to serve the Lord in one capacity or another, and then groaned about the task. I had been upset today over the lack of cheerful servers, when I am often guilty myself of serving the Lord with less than gladness.
Today, Lord, I ask you to forgive me for the times that I fail to remember that your gift of salvation is worthy of me serving you gladly. When asked to assist and I become tempted to complain and murmur, remind me of all the reasons I have to be thankful. May I remember Lord, this is my reasonable duty, and to perform the tasks set before me in good cheer.
I ask that you would help me Lord today, to give you what you deserve, service with a smile.
Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Psalm 100:2