Next time you make a run into Target, take a quick survey of the parking lot. You’ll typically find a small group of cars parked together at the far end of the parking lot. The fact that they’re older cars will tell you that’s where the employees park. Target values their customers so they require their employees to park out there to give their best parking spaces to the people they are there to serve.
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” Servants park far from the front door so that those they are there to serve can park closer.
Last week it was pouring down rain just before our worship service. I watched the parking lot that morning. Those who came early to serve parked as close to the door as possible. All morning, as more and more people came, each person took the best space available at the time. Everyone who came after had to park a little farther away and walk a little farther through a little more rain.
Part of the reason my heart breaks when I see this happen is because I know who pulls into church at the last minute. It’s the guy who has finally said, “My neighbor’s been saying, ‘Come and see’ for a year. I’ll check it out because I’m tired of resisting!” It’s the single mom who says, “I’m at the end of my rope. Maybe the church can help.” It’s the person who just wants to know, “I’m I loved? Do you notice me? Does anyone care?”
So should the church require its leaders to park at the far end of the parking lot like Target requires their employees to? Maybe. Probably. For now, I’m just going to keep an eye on it. I think it’s a pretty accurate readout of how much we have internalized Jesus’ teachings about servanthood.