Beyond Duty

“You know my name?” the delicate voice asked from the window seat next to me. Raised eyebrows broadcast her surprise while a heavy French accent let slip her native home. 

Without an answer the steward simply handed his magazines to her. “I just thought anyone desperate enough to read the safety brochure could really use these.”

Half an hour into what would eventually become a three hour wait on the tarmac, the steward was dutifully trying to make the wait as easy as possible for his passengers. To that end, he had obviously made an effort to learn every passenger’s name from the plane’s roster. 

With no introduction needed he flittered from row to row calling people by name and attending to their needs. 

Everyone appreciated his effort, but none more than Leslie. Here she was, a stranger in a strange land, cooped up in an airplane that was stuck on the tarmac, and trying to entertain herself by reading–of all things–the safety brochure. Then comes a complete stranger who calls her by name and gives her something to help pass the time. 

At that point, the service he provided became something more than professional, it became personal. 

It would have been easy for him to pass her by while delivering the latest beverage of choice to a more bellicose passenger. Or he could have just dropped a magazine in her lap while hurrying to a more pressing need. 

Instead he chose to do something more than just his job. He chose to notice, learn, and engage with those around him. All of which made him come across to Leslie as someone who legitimately cared. 

On a cramped plane going nowhere, I saw the difference between professional duty and personal service. A dollar in the bucket here or an incincere “I’ll be praying for you” there fulfills Christian duty. But engaging others through sacrifice and love are still the only ways to truly represent the person of Christ.

The reality is his love has a hard time flowing through the “professional” Christian doing their duty. But it gushes freely from his “personal” servant choosing to make a difference. 

One completes a checklist. The other impacts the world. 

Live The Mission,