• Sarah Raad


My God sweated over a table for love of me!

Father and Son (Corbert Gauthier)

I have always worked in customer-facing roles. Every job I have ever had in my life has involved a significant element of customer service to either internal customers or external customers, or both.

In my past career I worked for multinational companies dealing with CEOs and CFOs – whose time literally meant money – on a daily basis. In my present career, I deal with parents and their children – and there is significant pressure involved in that too! After all, parents have expectations and hopes for their children and most parents are genuinely interesting in ensuring that their children try their best!

Many parents require assistance in keeping their children focused and in school – it is not a failing on the part of the parents, it is merely a part of life. After all, in the old days we would say that it took a village to raise a child, but though the saying is old, the concept is as relevant today as it was for my grandparents... And we can form a village through our work – whatever our work is – if we can offer good customer service – because that is how we connect with others in our “village” of work…

And what is good customer service? Well, good customer service is helping the customer to feel that their needs are being met in an efficient and equitable manner.

I have been thinking about customer service over the last few months. After all, in this economic environment exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly important for business-owners to hold onto the customer by keeping the customer happy.

Christ had customers – did you realise that?

What utter humility that involved! What perfect humility for God Himself to answer to a hundred Pontius Pilots in each customer who judged Him for decades prior to His execution day…

For the first thirty years of His life Christ lived as the son of a craftsman – a carpenter. He learned the trade – presumably from Saint Joseph – and then worked in that trade, possibly for fifteen years – maybe more – prior to commencing His public ministry, which really only lasted three short years.

Though I have never thought about Christ’s private life, I thought about it the other day – and my mediations surprised me…

Imagine all the customers that the Son of Man interacted with. Imagine all the people who He laboured for. He sweated over His work in the heat of the day, and He rushed to work on the busy mornings and worked hard until evening so that He could finish His jobs. He negotiated fair prices and chased payment from those who He completed the work for. He arranged delivery. He did repairs. He spoke calmly to angry customers. He listened to bad reviews. He laughed with the regular customers and offered discounts to those who could not afford to pay. Some of His customers would have been His friends.

And that really means that He worked. He laboured. God – who is without sin – was forced to share in the punishment of Sin, which was the labour that God assigned to Adam in the Garden of Eden, “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…” (Genesis 3:19).

Now that is TRUE love! After all, it is one thing for God to labour to make the world and all the animals of the sea, earth and air and man and woman themselves. These things were created out of nothing... It is quite another thing for God to make a table with His own two Hands... Quite another thing indeed...

God Himself made tables and chairs and doors and cupboards and steps for us with His own two HOLY Hands and sweating from His own Holy Brow. Those Hands that would later raise people from the dead and cause the lame to walk the and the blind to see were used to build doors and repair steps for pennies…

For fifteen years or more, God Himself used His Holy Hands and gave His Holy Sweat to make tables and chairs and doors.

And I wonder, if during those first thirty years of His life, before all the famous public miracles – before the water into wine and the blind and the lame and the paralysed, before the loaves and the fish and the evil spirits that He cast out, before all of that – how many tables my Beloved made…

For each table and each chair, each repair, each door, each step, each item that He made was a relic of infinite worth… For with each He spoke to His customers. With each item, God Himself gave not only His time, but also His sweat…

And upon reflection, it occurs to me that those tables and chairs and steps and doors, were perhaps the greatest of all His Holy miracles.

For who am I to boast of such a God… For my God sweated over a table for love of me!

For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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