I'm reading David A. Livermore's book Serving With Eyes Wide Open, where he has written of himself "I'm obsessed with efficiency. I stand in line and come up with ways things could be done better and quicker." SNAP! to you Mr Livermore, I say.
I too value organisation, attention to detail, and all round efficiency very highly. I am not satisfied by efficiency at the expense of people, and so believe that optimum efficiency is only ever achieved when customer service and satisfaction are an equal part of the consideration of the best way something can be done.
I spent four hours in an airport at the weekend waiting for a connecting flight home, and naturally my mind started analysing the ways in which check in procedures could be more efficient, inclusive of being user friendly. I quite enjoy analysing, but in a scenario like this, where you are personally enduring the current inefficiencies, it's easy to become frustrated.
It is commonly at this frustration point in the efficiency-analysis process that I become aware that perhaps there is another way to look at my situation. In this instance, my reasoning went like this:
Tahnee, you are in this airport for a number of hours, fact. This is an opportunity to express the impact of Jesus in your life. How can you approach this situation - which is frustrating to many people - as a light of Christ's love here and now?
So what does my response look like? After I had checked my own bag in, I noticed a mum who was at another check in counter juggling her baby in one hand and trying to unload her luggage trolley in the other. With my renewed mindset, I approached her and offered to lend a hand. All it took was a couple of minutes of my time cuddling her very sweet little man, while she finalised their check in.
Two strong traits
As I reflect upon the hours I spent in the airport that day, I recognise two very strong traits in my character. That of efficiency and that of a genuine desire to serve others which grows from the love of Christ in my life. But I am challenged by the dominance of the need for efficiency rather than naturally choosing first and foremost to respond with a heart of humble service and love for those in my midst.
Efficiency in the Kingdom is using all of life's moments to share Jesus with those I encounter, rather than an understanding of efficiency as valuing my time, my comfort and my wants above all else.
It is my hope that each day, in all situations, my faith would grow, my love would develop and my life would honour Christ in such a way that while time-orientated efficiency is an attribute I can bring to the table, more importantly the words of Paul to the church in Thessalonica could be said of my life as I value the efficiency of the Kingdom.
"Our God gives you everything you need, makes you everything you're to be... We pray that our God will make you fit for what he's called you to be, pray that he'll fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honours the name of Jesus, he will honour you. Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely."
(Portions taken from 2 Thessalonians Chapter 1, The Message).