At 17 years old I got my first real job.
At 21 years old I still rock that adorable ascot and visor with the golden arches.
You’ve guessed it. McDonald’s.
Many have a negative connotation with fast food, McDonald’s in particular. Some people cringe. Some people laugh. Some people sue.
It’s the last place people would expect to find Jesus, but I have had the privilege of serving Him there.
“Wait a minute. Did you just say you served Jesus at McDonald’s?”
Why yes, I did.
Whether I’m serving up Big Macs for the late night crowd or dishing out hash browns for the early morning regulars, I’m still serving Jesus.
It seems like the oddest place for Him to reveal His promises and statutes, but for over four years, I’ve encountered Him there.
While there are countless stories to share about my experience as a McDonald’s employee, here are three significant values that the Lord has taught me during my time there.
1. Love Your Enemies
Sometimes your enemy doesn’t always threaten your life. Sometimes your enemy threatens your patience, however, as he cusses you out because you forgot his Sweet and Sour sauce for his Chicken Nuggets.
It’s in those moments when Jesus whispers, “Show him My love, today.”
I’d like to show him something else.
As hot tears rolled down my cheeks, I walked away to recompose myself. I realized that it probably wasn’t even about the Sweet and Sour sauce.
I could not step into his shoes and know all the burdens he has carried in life. I will never know what made him lash out over something so, well…ridiculous. And, while I could never excuse this poor man’s behavior, I can extend grace and forgiveness.
I can show him what my Jesus’ love looks like.
The love that poured out forgiveness on the ones that cursed and mocked Him as He hung on a rugged tree.
2. People Matter
French fries will get cold. Orders will be messed up. Our food may not always be considered “fast.” But, people matter. People are eternal. And I have the privilege of serving and working alongside them every day at work….Well, technically five days a week.
My mission field may not have brick red, dusty roads or shacks for homes, but the people I serve still need Jesus’ life breathed into them.
My co-workers that greet me as I walk through the doors at 5:45 in the morning need to be shown Jesus’ unwavering peace.
The young, single mother holding her child as she waits in line needs to be shown Jesus’ saving grace.
The tattered homeless man that searches for enough coins to pay for his coffee needs to be shown Jesus’ radical redemption.
The people who come in and out of McDonald’s doors every day, employee or customer, matter. Their lives have purpose.
And God loved them enough to send His Son to carry the weight of their sin in order that they might encounter true Freedom.
I have the absolute honor of serving those people. And while I may not be able to read them the Gospel, I am able show them what a person transformed by the Gospel looks like.
I am able to plant seeds of Freedom, one kind word and tender smile at a time.
And I pray that as I plant the seeds, the Holy Spirit causes them to bloom.
3. Small Things for God’s Glory Matter
It took years before my eyes were opened to see God’s purpose for me at McDonald’s.
I spent my summer asking people, “Would you like to make that a large meal?” All the while, I was green with envy and filled with self-pity as I watched my friends travel to impoverished countries, eager to serve Jesus’ people and share with them His truth. I was just serving french fries.
This rotten attitude was the outcome of jealousy. The product of comparison.
“Why can’t I do something radical for Christ?” I asked myself.
My friend’s missional lives felt important. My fast food life felt…trivial.
It wasn’t until this summer that the Lord graciously revealed to me just how damaging that outlook was and just how precious my work is.
Before I left for home, a friend from my Grace Group lent me a copy of The Practice of the Presence of God. Little did she or I know how the Lord would use this book to reshape my heart.
As I read, I stumbled upon this.
“We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.”
Brother Lawrence spent a good portion of his life working in the kitchen of a monastery. To some, his life may have looked insignificant. Small. Trivial.
But God looked upon his life with great honor, for Brother Lawrence had labored with great love.
The Lord sees whatever is done for His glory, whether you’re caring for orphans in Ethiopia, filing paper work in the office, or even flipping burgers.
So, just as Brother Lawrence happily washed dishes and scrubbed floors, aware of Whom he was truly serving, I too found joy in my own work.
Because I have learned to do it with God and for God.
And I’m lovin’ it.