Friday, September 2, 2016

The Grab For The Check

'The waitress is here and I just want to say before we all order that I have this meal covered. You have {all traveled a long way} and I just want to settle this issue long before the check comes.'

The brackets { } contain the reason uncle George is giving to pay for the meal. The above scenario might be known as a preemptive strike. A similar statement could be uttered any time during the meal. It might be followed by something like this...

'No. No. You {always pay} and we {have jobs now} and want to treat you. We will cover the meal. That is {very generous of you} But we will pay this time.'

Nice counter move there. The brackets could contain any number of things. As a rule, they should be persuasive and convincing. They might go something like this... {you are still recovering from that operation} or {I just got that promotion. It is my way of celebrating}.

Depending on the culture this battle can last the whole meal. Oh, The conversation may shift but then the deciding moment will eventually arrive a short or perhaps a long time later... the check comes. Then there may be one last grab. No matter what has been said a quick person (perhaps they have conspired with the waitress to give them the check) can make a play for the small piece of paper to 'pull out a victory' in generosity. That little piece of paper becomes the flag in a 'capture the flag' battle.

Some folks are experts in this interplay and others are amateurs. You can tell the experts early on. They are like chess players.

I have sat in wonder watching this interplay at times (usually as I fight to 'leave the tip'). I play also but I'm admittedly not very good at this game. I have my moments but I'm no professional.

At times I have thought to myself, 'Does this person even have this money or are they going to die with a mountain of credit card debt mostly consisting of steak dinners that other people ate?'

This issue is foreign to some groups but it is very active in others. In some groups, everyone just knows and accepts that each one will pay their 'fair share'. But in others, this battle of kindness rages often and people can even be belittled if they don't put up a decent fight.

Sometimes I have had this interplay with God. I have even made a grab for the check after the argument was supposed to be settled.

"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." - John 19:30 KJV

Our 'life in Christ' is a reception planned by the Father and paid for by the Son. It is finished. The check isn't going to arrive. In some circles, the battle of who is or isn't going to pay the spiritual check is still raging. Each philosophy voices it in subtly different ways but it is the same battle... the 'I want to bless you battle'... or even the 'I want to be known as the blesser' battle... or the 'I don't want to be seen as a moocher' battle.

The who pays for the chicken parmesan battle will still continue. That is culture and there is nothing right or wrong about it. It just is. But, the 'who paid the spiritual check' battle must be settled once and for all. Jesus has paid the check. Your table is covered and every other table in the restaurant is covering also. That means He has the honor of being our host. He Is the most gracious host ever to host anything but He and He alone has that privilege.

Grace lets us just enjoy our meal. Can we do that today? Yes. Because of Jesus we can. Will we do that today? I hope so. I plan to enjoy my life. It a wonderful gift. I want to enjoy every bite...the bitter and the sweet... in all comes from His hand.

God help us live in your culture today and in this coming weekend. We want to bring it where ever we go. We want You to be our blessing and the person who blesses those we meet. Thank you , God. You are a wonderful host. Thank You for picking up our tab.


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