My wife and I are avid Chipotle enthusiasts (aka we eat there multiple times a week).
Recently, as my wife and I were in the midst of enduring the restaurant’s seemingly unconquerable line, I couldn’t help but notice how many people were on their phones. Regardless of whether they were with loved ones or braving the line solo, an overwhelming majority of people defaulted their attention to their phones rather than the people standing right next to them. Even when many people approached the front of the line to place their order, their attention was often still diverted between their phones and the people crafting their delicious burritos.
It drives me absolutely crazy when I observe this: people attempting to order food and coffee or purchase groceries while looking at or are even in the middle of a phone call. As someone who has worked in customer service for seven years, I can testify that there are not many ways to make someone in customer service feel less-than human than being on your phone while they’re trying to help you.
Unfortunately, as I’ve spent time with Christian friends, I’ve found that we as a whole don’t treat people in customer service any differently.
Observing this frustrating trend becoming more of a standard everywhere I go, I can’t help but wonder how Jesus would handle these situations.
Jesus at a Coffee Shop
I can just picture it.
Jesus rolls into a café one morning with his disciples. The baker’s dozen get in line behind a handful of people. A couple of the disciples are checking their iPhones for the tenth time in the last ten minutes to see if anyone new has liked their status update on Facebook—perhaps Facescroll. Of course James and John are going back-and-forth about whose Instagram picture of Jesus walking on water is better.
As the group approaches the front of the line, the barista greets Jesus, “Hi, how are you?” Before Jesus can answer, His phone begins to ring.
Let’s press pause.
What do you think He does? Does He ignore the ringing call or the barista standing three feet in front of Him? What if the call is important? What if Jairus is calling about His ill daughter?
Sure, the scenario may be humorous and exaggerated but the principles behind the questions are similar: would Jesus ignore the very people standing momentarily in front of Him to attend to whatever alert or notification He received on His phone?
What Love Looks Like
The question boils down to how can we best love those around us?
In a letter of John’s, a disciple of Jesus, He stated: “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
According to John, to really love someone means to give up your life for other people, placing their needs and well-being above your own. Real love disregards that text message or SnapChat because there are other people standing in front of you with real names, real stories, and real souls worthy of real love.
I can’t help but think that, without losing eye contact with the barista, Jesus would click off His ring tone, and reply, “I’m good. How are you?”