Hiding in the Kitchen

Recently, I watched a reality television show where a successful restaurant owner went into businesses that were struggling in order to help them get back on their feet and become profitable.

In every episode, the host would place cameras around the building in order to see how the business functioned.  He would watch the leadership, keep track of customer service, and make sure the food that was served was safe.  The host would also arrange for the business to get busy to see how they handled stressful situations.

As I watched multiple episodes, I began to notice a theme.  Often these struggling businesses would have an owner/operator who would go back to help in the kitchen when things got crazy.  The problem was that may not have been where he/she needed to be.  When he/she did so, their hosts & waitstaff would start to panic, customer service declined, and people grew unhappy.

The host often made this observation, “He/She is hiding!!!”

What did he mean by that?  These people were supposed to be leading their business.  They should have been organizing, encouraging, and helping everyone do their very best.  Instead, they slipped off to the kitchen where they would be safe and avoid problems, while still looking busy.

This led me to consider my own leadership.  How often do I slip away when the going gets tough?  How often do I do things that make me look busy, but do not help the mission of the church?  How often do I seek safety when I should be meeting challenges head on?

I also thought of the church.  How often does the church retreat to the safety of the sanctuary, worship service, or Bible study?  Do we avoid problems around us?  Are we satisfied with just looking busy instead of fulfilling our mission?

So how do we get out of the Kitchen?

Here are three ways that we as the church can face challenges head on…

1.  Keep our behavior excellent… where it can be seen!

Peter wrote to the church these words, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” 
(1 Peter 2:12)
This means more than just “virtue signaling”.  This is a call to do what is right every time & not just when no one is watching, but also when everyone is watching; even if that means standing alone!  Christian are called to be different; trailblazers when it comes to justice & righteousness.  We do not do what everyone else does.  We do what is right… every time & every day.

2.  Actively do good.

Wait, how is this any different than the first point?
They are certainly in the same camp!  Not only should our behavior be excellent, but we should strive, as the church, to improve the lives of people around us.  We “do good” by loving people; caring when they are hurting, giving them a hand up when they fall, even providing shelter when they are in danger.
Jesus said it this way, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”  
(Matt 5:43-45a)
When Jesus calls us to love both our neighbor & our enemy, He is calling us to actively seek the betterment of EVERYONE around us!!

3.  Boldly share Christ

There is no area in which the American church is more timid than the sharing of the good news.

Sure, we like to learn how to share the good news.  We like to pray about it.  Some may even be okay with sending people to the pastor to hear it, but very few are willing to daily, boldly share the Gospel.
Church, we are hiding in the kitchen instead of facing the situation.  There is a lost & dying world all around us.  One more Bible study will not make a difference, but the church telling people about Jesus will!!!
Talk about Jesus as you go through your day.  Talk about your salvation as you encourage others.  Talk about how a Christ-led life has made the difference in you!!!

And pray!!!  One last thing to remember is this:  Prayer is never hiding in the kitchen, but be sure to put your prayers in action!!!