This evening as I was carrying our tray of fast food to our table, I noticed that we had one extra sandwich. After we prayed, I began to disperse the food and figure out which one was the extra. About the time I was down to the last two sandwiches, the employee who handed me the tray of food at the counter came to the table and asked if she had given me an extra sandwich. I responded by saying "yes", then grabbed the extra sandwich and handed it to her. She took the sandwich and threw it in the trash.
Amy and I looked at each other, dumbfounded. Then Amy said, "What a waste!"
Contrast that experience to the one we had a few weeks ago at a different restaurant. We called ahead and ordered some milkshakes "to go". When we got to the drive-thru, the employee apologized and explained that they hadn't started the milkshakes (real milkshakes, hand dipped). A few minutes later she returned with the milkshakes, apologizing again, then telling me that the milkshakes were free due to our having to wait. Cool!
Restaurant 1 made me feel bad, like I stole something. Restaurant 2 made me feel great, like they cared and that I am important. Here's the thing: both restaurants had food that was not paid for. The unpaid sandwich made me feel bad and the unpaid milkshakes made me feel good. Guess which restaurant I'm frequenting more?
Here is a question for us: If we are Christians, which restaurant are we portraying? As you interact with others, are you making sure no one gets away with anything (Restaurant 1)? Or are you are willing dispenser of God's grace (Restaurant 2)? Which is more attractive? Which one do you want to hang out with?
Hopefully we're not Restaurant 1. "What a waste!"