I met Jesus at the IHOP last week.

My wife and I went to the restaurant near our home in Peachtree Corners, GA to redeem a coupon for a free Rooty Tooty Fresh N Fruity. ® This IHOP classic comes with two eggs, two bacon strips, two pork sausage links and two fluffy buttermilk pancakes crowned with cool strawberry topping, warm blueberry or cinnamon apple compote (my preference), then whipped topping as the finishing touch!

It may not be very healthy but the dish is delicious and enough food for two average people. It seems to me that any adult who will speak their order out loud for the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity should get it free.

It would be easy for me to get carried away describing this culinary delight but that is not my purpose for writing. My intention is to describe how this dining outing became a spiritual experience.

Upon arrival at the restaurant we were greeted by a pleasant young man who showed us to our table. When he returned to take our order we saw from his name tag that Jesus was serving us. This should not have come as a surprise because anyone with just a little knowledge of the Bible knows that Jesus told his followers that he came to serve- not to be served. Many of his followers- both ancient and modern- fail to understand that basic truth of the Christian faith.

Unfortunately many followers of Jesus demonstrate an attitude of arrogance and entitlement. This disposition is in sharp contrast to the instructions the Master gave to those who were attracted by his teachings and example. He told them that anyone “who wants to be great among you must become a servant.” They should be content to be at the back of the line instead of pushing to the front.

The server at our neighborhood IHOP came from Mexico when he was five years old. In his native language his name is properly pronounced “Hey-soos” but when translated into English it is “Jee-sus.”

We joked with him and asked if he could walk on water. He replied that he had never tried it and didn’t think he would.

I know that Jesus is a common name in some cultures. Nevertheless the gentle and pleasant way the restaurant employee discharged his responsibilities was a lesson for me. It reminded me how those of us who claim to be followers of the biblical Jesus of Nazareth ought to behave toward others all the time.

We are supposed to welcome the stranger and love our neighbor. We are called to be as concerned about the welfare of others as much as we care for our own needs. We are called to serve the needs of others. And to do it with an attitude of gratitude. Thank you, Jesus, for the reminder.

Jamie Jenkins