In the restaurant industry it is generally recognized that there are three main necessities to being successful: food quality, price, and service quality. All three of these are of great importance and a failure in any of them can be fatal to a business. If the price is good and the service is good, but the food is lousy, people will not come. If one tries to price their food in rural Mississippi the way they would in a major city, it is a disaster waiting to happen. Equally true is the fact that the food can be great, the price comfortable, but the waiters and waitresses be so poor in the quality of their service that people will not return.
Within the church there is the same dynamic necessary for success within each congregation. Fortunately, the first two elements are controlled by the Father and are already set to perfection. The food of the word of God, and its ability to strengthen and sustain our lives is of a quality no other source in the world can provide. It allows a person to become complete (cf. II Tim. 3:17), and equips him for everything life can throw his way (cf. II Pet. 1:3).
The price of this spiritual feast is unequaled, for it is free. You do not have to have a certain amount of cash, possessions, or a particular social status in order to have access to this bountiful meal. Though such a meal will certainly change everything in your life (cf. Phil. 3:4-8), the price of admission to have access to that meal is non-existent. It has already been off-set by the blood of Christ if we are willing to accept it and obey it.
That brings us to the third category, the part that relies on us: the service quality. As Christians, we are the servants of Christ. We are the ones responsible for making that food of life available and delivering it to those who are willing to accept it. However, the manner by which we serve is just as important as the meal we are presenting. People will not receive our service with joy if we insist upon throwing it in their face instead of placing it before them to consider and accept. Nor will those being served be excited to return if the wait staff is constantly fighting and bickering with one another.
Good restaurants know the importance of a smile and a welcome; but when someone comes to them and is forced to find their own seat, is ignored when seeking information, and is greeted as a nuisance instead of a guest, there is a problem and in all likelihood that customer has been lost. The same holds true with the church. When we seek to dispense the greatest meal one could ever eat, but we ignore those who come to hear, treat them as a nuisance (especially if they get "our seat"), or otherwise look down upon them, they will give us an "F" for our service and rightfully so.
As servants of Christ we have a duty to perform (cf. Luke 17:7-10). We should not be sitting around looking for recognition or waiting to see who is going to be lauded as "employee of the month." Instead, our job is to serve with honesty, humility, love, compassion, and the desire to feed lost souls. If we are willing to do so, the message of the Lord will be successful and people will continue to come desiring the feast that is God's Word. If we fail to do so, we can expect to be found as wicked and lazy servants, not good and faithful ones (cf. Matt. 25:14-30). How is our service as the wait staff of the Lord?