I'm at McDonald's, on my MacComputer, just finished a McShake and some McNuggets, thinking about how the McDonald's experience applies to my life. The Dollar Menu is still the cheapest meal on the planet, and the Golden Arches are one of the most recognized logos in the world. When you come to McDonald's, you know exactly what you're going to get, you know it will be cheap, fast, portable if you want. It's done YOUR way and it doesn't take up too much of YOUR time. Fabulous.
You get a different perspective when you're on the other side of the counter, though. I just finished my last shift at a "McJob." I'm glad it's over, but I'm also glad I worked that job for a while. I think people who work McJobs have a better perception of the state of their community than anyone else in society. You really see where people's priorities are. You get a glimpse of how they view life, what they care about.
And I'm telling you - it's a sad picture.
Of course, there are plenty of caring people out there. But what sticks out is how many selfish, lonely, angry, bitter people come through the doors and the drive-thru of a coffee shop (or any other McEstablishment).
Tell me this: Why do you have to roll your eyes at the minimum-wage employee who is just doing what they've been told by not taking a coupon from a different store?
Since when is the cashier's counter some sort of mystical barrier that de-personifies the person on the other side and deprives them of all feeling and rational thought?
What about me following the policies of the company that employs me makes me an "ass hole?"
Yep, it really happened. A drive-through customer didn't get a stamp on her frequency card because she used a coupon, and immediately I became an idiot, an invalid person, a stupid clone that represents the unfavorable policies of the establishment and (while we're at it) all of the misfortunes and hurts that have come through this woman's life and the lives of her two friends in the car. And I, Mark Potter, became an ass hole.
After I stamped her card and handed it back to her saying "I hope you feel good about yourself" (I'm not perfect either), I retreated to the back of the store and finally let tears moisten my eyes. Yeah, the comments hurt. But what hurt the most is that I cared about her. According to a challenge from our lead pastor, I had fasted the day before and prayed for God's heart for lost people. Nothing magical happened that day, but as God often does, He was preparing me for events to come. As I leaned my head against the wall next to the mop sink and spare toilet paper, I prayed.
"God, how did we ever get so selfish? How have we become such inward-focused, non-caring people? It's actually a GOOD thing that it was ME she treated that way, because anyone else in my position could have taken a MAJOR blow to their character and confidence, or even worse - repaid her with verbal damage of their own. God, we've GOT to change the world."
We've GOT to change the world.
People, whether you believe in God or not, you can't deny that selfishness SUCKS, and that there is at least a little bit of selfishness in YOU. In the church world, we call selfishness "sin," and sin is what makes this world terrible.
So here's my challenge, and my mission. Your life is going to suck if YOU are the one at the top of your list. You can either believe me now, or we'll talk on your death bed and I'll say "I told you so." The reason I believe in Jesus - besides the miracle of His story which we'll talk about some other time - is that HE is the one who pointed this out to us. HE knew what He was talking about, and HE modeled it. Someday soon the world will begin to change, and I intend to be a part of it.
Think of others - how would you feel if you were in their position? You've heard this before, but this time make a LIFESTYLE out of it. And secondly, find something worthwhile to live for. So many of the things that people work towards and care about are SO WORTHLESS. Good things are good things, but they're only WORTH something if they have a big-picture purpose. And I mean BIG picture purpose.
Thanks for reading. Remember, make your life count. If you have any questions, please consult the bibliography below to see what resources I started with.
1. The Bible.