Several years ago a mission pastor entered a barber shop around the corner from his church. Although he needed a haircut, his purpose was to build a witnessing relationship with the owner. They had a good talk, but the only result was a really bad haircut.
Laughing at his new “butchered” look, the pastor visited another barber to fix the problem haircut. Weeks later he returned to the barber next door for another haircut — with the same result. My pastor friend’s comment the second time: “I think he’s improving… some.”
Building relationships with the people who serve us every day can be like that.
We encounter people who serve us at the bank, the fast food restaurant, the post office, the cleaners, the grocery, or the pharmacy. These secular servants encounter complaints and cranky customers every hour. Are we part of the “complaints and cranks” crowd? Or do we stand out? Do they look forward to our smile and kindness?
It is so easy to focus on the quality of service rather than on the souls.
To my knowledge the barber who gave bad haircuts never came to Christ or attended the mission my friend pastored. But if Jesus was willing to suffer deadly abuse at the hands lost men, I think I can handle the bad haircut.