The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. (Matthew 20:28)
A good waiter loses himself in attending to the pleasure of the one he serves. The waiter watches; he anticipates. The skillful waiter attunes himself to his business so deftly that he himself vanishes. He produces results like an invisible man. Glasses don’t go empty; they get filled without anyone noticing. Time to eat? The food sits in front of you. When everyone’s finished, the plates are gone. Crumbs on the table vanish.
The Son of Man came not to sit at table and feast, with His servants waiting on Him. He came to be the waiter. He came to wait at our table.
Christ revealed the truth about God. The Almighty operates like the ultimate invisible waiter. Air to breathe? Sun in the sky? Roof over your head? He keeps the glasses full, and we don’t even see Him. Need a friend? An open door? He takes care of it.
None of this—the cosmos: the sky, the mountains, food, created beauty—none of it is an implement of service for Him. He had perfect happiness before there even was an earth. He offers us everything, without any thought of gaining anything for Himself. He already had it all. All of this is Him serving us.
And how did He reveal this invisible truth? The Creator came as a man to do not His own will, but the will of the One Who sent Him. The Son came not to luxuriate, but to suffer. He came not for His own benefit, but for ours.
Where did the Son of God, the manservant of the human race—where did He find His peace? “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how I am straitened until it is accomplished.” He found peace only on the Cross. He found peace only in offering Himself for us, in fulfillment of the Father’s plan for the reconciliation of His wayward children.
Now, we could never presume to imitate all of Almighty God’s consummate table-waiting skills. He waits on us better than we could ever wait on anyone else.
But we can take a cue from what He says and from how He does things. And, if we want to be of service as apostles of the Son of Man, trained and sent to serve our brothers and sisters in the world—if we want this, we can learn something from what a serving man is called.
A waiter. If we would serve well, we need first of all to have enough patience to stand and wait. We watch carefully, so as to see clearly what the brother or sister needs. Then we can take care of it quietly, invisibly.