As a customer, I expect great service. I value things such as efficiency, excellence, and kindness. I will often give my business to places that live up to those standards even if I could have found a better price elsewhere. But I’m realizing lately that I give very little thought to the reverse. If a customer service employee rated me, would they say that I’m a kind person? How about you? Seriously, think about all the times, everyday, that you interact with people who are serving you.
I began thinking about this when the air conditioning in both my house and car went out at the same time. Besides the expense, it meant a lot of time on the phone or in person with customer service employees. Some of them were up to my standards, and some of them were not. I remember calling my parents to vent after a particularly frustrating experience, and somewhere in the middle of their bored, yet sympathetic “mmhmms,” I started to wonder about my own behavior.
My general stance was, “I’m paying them money, so that means they’re here to serve me, right?” But as I started to think about it, God brought a verse to my heart. Philippians 2:3-5 NIV says:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus …
Jesus never let anything get in the way of pointing people to God. He humbled Himself when He came to earth as a man and valued each one of us so highly that He died on the cross for us. He didn’t allow our poor service to keep Him from showing us the ultimate kindness––leading us to a relationship with God.
That means as a Christian, I’m called to flip upside-down the role I play as a customer. If Jesus came to earth to serve me, it’s my job to lead the way with the best service around. Meaning, I live to serve the customer service employee.
Yes, if I pay a company for a service I expect them to make good on it in a timely manner. But I’m not just a customer, I’m also a follower of Jesus. And to follow in His footsteps is to clothe myself with compassion, kindness, gentleness and patience.
It doesn’t matter whether or not my frustration was justified or not, or that I really did receive bad customer service. What matters is that I am intentional about showing Christ to the person across the counter from me. That I don’t let my needs, small and insignificant in comparison, outweigh the need of someone else to experience the kindness of Christ.
The thing is, you don’t get to clock in and out of being a Christian. Following Jesus means loving everyone—all the time. Including the people who are hard to love. Whether it’s that neighbor you’re trying to avoid, the slow check-out employee at the store, or that customer service employee who put you on hold for 30 minutes with the worst elevator music in the background—I’m called to be set apart and to show love to anyone and everyone in my life.
So next time my A/C goes out, or I’m simply buying groceries or a coffee, I can remember to be a kind person who serves the people serving me. How about you? How can you show the the same kindness Jesus showed you by putting someone else’s needs above your own? You can ask how their day went, consider what they may be going through, or even invite them to join you at church. And through this kindness, hopefully someone will see Jesus and how He can change their life for the better.