My favorite thing about Chick-fil-A, besides their delicious, mouth-watering chicken sandwiches, is the friendly service I receive there. No matter which location I go to, it will be the same – in response to a “thank you”, I hear, “my pleasure”.
That phrase invokes warmth within me. It somehow means more than “you’re welcome” or “no problem”. It’s as if they had eagerly anticipated my arrival so they could prepare a meal just the way I liked it. It was their pleasure to do so; not a burden, a mundane task, or an obligation.
Recently, after having Chick-fil-A for lunch, I kept thinking about that response – “my pleasure”. As I shuffled through the routine of dinner preparation, homework completion and bedtime rituals, I couldn’t help but wonder, is it really my pleasure to serve the members of my family?
In all honesty, delight was far from what I was feeling. Resentful was more like it. Obligated. I was going about my perceived duties begrudgingly. My heart rambled, I’ll do it, but I don’t have to like it. Have you had similar thoughts?
What if these were Jesus’s dishes? My subconscious began to wrestle my pride as I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 9:7, which says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.” I had decided in my heart to give, but did so reluctantly.
The Hebrew translation of reluctant is lupe, which means “pain of body or mind, physical or emotional distress”. I was allowing a messy kitchen to pain me emotionally. I felt coerced, like it was my sole mandatory responsibility, rather than my privilege, to do the job. My hunched shoulders communicated the weight of household chores being nearly too much for me to bear – like the slouched pout I get when I tell my children to clean their rooms. They make sure I understand just how miserable they feel about it. I would much rather they pipe, “Sure, mom!” as they gleefully bound up the stairs. My heart would fill with pride, delighted by their cheerful attitude. The same is true for God. It brings Him joy to see us serve with willing fervor.
I’ve typically considered 2 Corinthians 9:7 in the context of tithing, and it is often referenced that way, but I think there’s more to it. If God wants us to do everything as if unto Him (Colossians 3:23) and He loves a cheerful giver, then we should take pleasure in serving others as if unto Him. It becomes less about the importance of the task but rather our attitude towards completing it. Serving hundreds of orders of fried chicken sandwiches can become monotonous day in and day out when considered a “job”. But when it’s an opportunity to serve, it becomes much more. It spreads cheer. It puts smiles on faces. It turns a boring day into a special day.
It can certainly be challenging to be cheerfully ready to serve others through the monotony of daily tasks. If this is an area of struggle for you as well, consider these ideas to help:
- Decide in advance to have a positive attitude. Start the day by asking God to help prepare your heart to embrace the chores of the day ahead. Lord, that mound of laundry won’t fold itself. Teach me to see it as an opportunity to bless my family.
- Approve of what needs to be done before being asked. Each morning, I know my sons will ask me to help them get dressed, eat breakfast, or any number of other things. When I mentally agree to assist before being asked, its a privilege rather than an nuisance.
- Determine to serve with joy. My response to requests for help can either be laced with willingness or irritation. Joy is not a feeling; it’s an attitude stemming from a spiritually compliant heart. Pause amidst frustrating moments to allow the Lord shift your perspective.
We can take pleasure in serving others because we know God loves a cheerful giver. He takes delight in us when we eagerly anticipate opportunities to give and embrace them with enthusiasm.
So they next time you’re told, “Thank you”, try replying with, “My pleasure”. And mean it!