I was thinking today about what kind of job would be honoring to the Lord. At first glance, the answer seemed strange, but the longer I thought, the clearer it became. I can serve God by serving drinks. I’ll pour out drink offerings to the Lord … into shot glasses.
Let’s deal with the immediate objections. We know that only legalistic Pharisaical fundamentalists (and who knows if they are _really_ believers to begin with?) think there is anything wrong with drinking. More enlightened Christians realize that Jesus _was_ a winebiber who went to drinking parties. The Pharisees were right in their description of Him. Remember what His first recorded miracle was!
Fundamentalists just don’t get it. They seem to think that Christianity is somehow partly about being “holy” or “righteous”. They don’t realize that no one is righteous or holy, and our (self!-)righteousness is simply filthy rags. No, Christianity is not about “being good”. It’s about evangelism.
Evangelism requires relevance. You have to earn the right to be heard. You have to be thought well of and respected by those you speak to. The methods of public preaching and exemplary living are so artificial, so false, so _yesterday_. Our (post)modern, _authentic_ methods are clearly superior to the practices of the past couple of thousand years. We have to get right in there among the preChristians and _impress_ them.
Bartending is an excellent opportunity for evangelism.
First of all, a bartender has a chance to be “salt and light” which is the greatest mission we have. And although Jesus didn’t actually _say_ it, we know that His admonition to be salt was a command to get out of our “holy huddles” and get in among the world – just like salt gets mixed in with what it is preserving. And although He warned against hiding our light, we know what He meant was that we need to make sure our light is surrounded by as much darkness as possible. Think about it: If you light a candle in a well-lit room, does it give off much light? What if you light it in a pitch black room? In which case is your light more hidden? We ought to worry more about making sure our light is near the darkness, than worrying about somehow hiding it under a basket. I don’t know who came up with that anyway.
Let’s face it, bars are sometimes pretty unsavory places. Which is all the more reason for Christians to be there. The preChristians will see our joy, our cheerfulness, our dynamic personalities – and they will want what we have. Whether it’s the dancers, the DJ, the bouncers, or the customers, we can reach people that God would otherwise not been able to touch.
Remember that Jesus was a friend of sinners – another accurate description from the Pharisees. He spent His time with the lowest members of society. A friend of prostitutes, tax collectors, and other so-called “sinners”.
Second, a bartender is in a pretty unique situation of being able to meet people’s needs. Most people come to bars for a reason. Maybe they are looking for companionship. Perhaps they are depressed because circumstances are looking grim. Maybe they are drinking away pain and guilt. Maybe a marriage is on the rocks.
In all these cases, the bartender’s sympathetic ear epitomizes care and compassion. A Christian bartender would be able to console and counsel these poor wayward souls, mercy and wisdom pouring from his lips as the liquor poured from his bottle. As they drown their sorrows, he could teach them about washing away their sins as well. Through his ministry to “the least of these,” the bartender would become accepted within their culture, respected, and trusted. Having earned the right to be heard, he could speak with relevance to the preChristians around him.
A final, though much less important, point is that a bartender is also in a situation to help restrain sin. Bartenders have the responsibility to refuse to continue to serve alcohol to customers who are clearly drunk. A Christian bartender, trusting in the providence of God, would not fear economic loss (through lost tips, etc) and would be more able to fulfill his duty. Not in a judgmental way, but in a loving and compassionate way.
Proverbs 31:6-7 instructs us “Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” Jesus praises His true children because “ye gave me drink”.
In light of this, I don’t think we should ask “Should a Christian be a bartender?” Instead, we should ask, “How could any Christian _not_ be a bartender?”
Note: This is satire. I am joking. I’m not sure if this guy is, though.