The Kingdom of God is like an Applebee’s

The kingdom of God is like an Applebee’s.

No, really, hear me out.

I was in my mid-twenties. My oldest son was about to start kindergarten. We were short on cash, and I needed to get a job. I needed evening shifts, hours when my husband was home to parent without me. But I was tired of working retail.

An Applebee’s was opening in town, a few blocks from our church. My husband suggested serving tables. I bristled. But, why?

Apparently, I had some pride I didn’t even realize existed. Some part of me was flat-out exhausted of supposedly menial labor. If I had finished my degree, I would have been teaching or pursuing some other career. If I could buckle down and focus on my writing, I might have been making a living from my craft. But I’d done neither of those things and something about waiting tables brought my past failures to light in brand new ways.

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And we needed the money.

I got over myself.

I applied, interviewed, was hired and started work at Applebee’s. On the inside of my order pad, I taped an index card. On the card, I wrote the following words from Mark 10:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve …”

As I adjusted to my new job, making mistakes and smiling too hard when I wanted to cry, I read that verse over and over. Slowly, something sank in. I started rushing to clock in so I would have a few minutes to pray over my tables, laying hands on the flat clean surfaces, before diners began arriving for the evening rush. I tried to look each person in the eyes and see them as real people, not potential tippers. I prayed God would let me be a pleasant part of their evening, brightening a hard day or joining in a good one.

Sometimes, I clearly saw that prayer answered.
Other times, every task felt like drudgery.

When I look back, I see how the Holy Spirit was working on me during my time as a server at Applebee’s. I can see how every worker in the building and out of it mattered. The cooks had to do their job in order for me to do mine. The dishwasher had to do his job, or the rest of us were out. If we failed, the manager was in big trouble. If our food suppliers didn’t show up, there was no work to be done. If the hostess didn’t seat people, I had no one to serve. If ad campaigns didn’t entice diners, there was no one to feed.

The kingdom of God is like an Applebee’s. Everyone has a part to play, and every part matters. Those of us serving need to remember we are serving people, and those people are real. They are as real as we are, and we can make or break their day with a smile or a kind word.

Waiting tables or wiping preschool noses or cashing checks at the bank window …

Whatever your current job may be, you have the opportunity to serve as the Son of Man came to serve.

The kingdom of God is like an Applebee’s.

The kingdom of God is like an airport.

The kingdom of God is like your community.

The kingdom of God IS your community.

How are you modeling the Christ?

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Heather Truett
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Heather Truett

I drink Sweet Cream in my coffee. My DVR is set to record Doctor Who, Grey's Anatomy, and The Walking Dead. I have a serious chapstick addiction, a history of purple/blue/green hair styles, tattoos on my left ankle and my right foot, a whole solar system of freckles, and I may or may not spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince my kids I am a Time Lady from Gallifrey.
Heather Truett
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Latest posts by Heather Truett (see all)

About Heather Truett

I drink Sweet Cream in my coffee. My DVR is set to record Doctor Who, Grey's Anatomy, and The Walking Dead. I have a serious chapstick addiction, a history of purple/blue/green hair styles, tattoos on my left ankle and my right foot, a whole solar system of freckles, and I may or may not spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince my kids I am a Time Lady from Gallifrey.

  • Lynn Gamber

    This is a beautiful picture of how we fit in to the kingdom of God. And an amazing reminder that we all have an opportunity to live what we believe in every single action we take.

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