Mission: People Who Wait, part 1

We are impatient people.

Next time you go through a drive-through window at a fast food restaurant, look in the window for a sign with a time posted. Managers often post a goal for how long customers should wait for their food from the time they place the order to the time the bag is in their hand. There may also be a separate sign for customers who order at the counter inside, but the drive-time will be much shorter.

Have you seen that sign before? Worked in fast food? How long is an average order fulfillment goal?

From what I have seen, roughly 35-45 seconds. And many a manager takes pride in the fact that his store regularly meets the goal. But, it is not the manager who really decides that number. It is you and me–the demanding, impatient, busy customer.

I’m not sure why I expect my food to be ready in less than a minute. It takes me longer than that to make a simple sandwich at home. I probably don’t even prepare a bowl of cereal in under a minute. But, when I get to that window I want a burger (which cooks on the grill at home in about 10 minutes after taking a minute or two to shape each patty), with lettuce and tomato (which has to be cut up, taking another minute or two), and sometimes cheese and bacon (another three minutes or so on the stove). I also want french fries (which would take forever if we cut up the potatoes, but even the frozen fries at home take three to four minutes, or longer in the oven (which is healthier…I mean, more healthful)).

So, I expect a meal that, done right, should take about twenty to thirty minutes to prepare to be in my hand in half a minute. I should also add that I think I am a pretty patient person…but, then again, maybe I have been lying to myself.

They say (whoever “they” are) that “patience is a virtue.” But, we sure don’t act like it or live like it most of the time. And we Christians are just as guilty (if not more so) as the rest of the world–even after the incredible, disciplined, loving patience that God has shown us, and still grants to us every day of our lives. The Lord waits a lifetime for us to change, but we have trouble waiting longer than a minute for a bag of greasy food.

It’s about time for us to become a people known for our patience.


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