Monday, April 30, 2012

Signs in the Breakroom

Walk into any workplace break-room and you are likely to see the following signs posted on the fridge:
"Please remove your old food or you will stink up the fridge!"
"WHOEVER has been taking other people's food, please STOP!"
"If you put something in here that leaks or spills, CLEAN IT UP!"

Then move over to the microwave and you will probably find the following:
"Please do not cook STINKY food in the microwave - other people work here TOO!!"
"If your food explodes inside...CLEAN IT UP!!"

Then walk to the sink and you'll find:
"Please do your OWN dishes.  Your mother doesn't work here!!!"

At my work place, we actually have a calendar that shows when it is each employee's turn to clean out the fridge.  That's right, in between my work appointments, meetings, and paperwork, I have to remember that on May 13, it is my turn to clean out the fridge.  This means I have to get in it with a sponge to clean up the sauce and soda spills, as well as throw out expired yogurts, half eaten burritos and rotten apples.  Fun.
Why do we need all these signs with all these !!!! to keep us in line? (And even with them the food still gets stolen, messes don't get cleaned up...)
Because as soon as we get in that room, no one is looking.
And as soon as no one is looking we act like the fallen, sinful, selfish human beings we are.
There I said it.
We are NOT naturally good people.
We do NOT naturally do what is right.
We are sinful and selfish.
In fact, if you put any of us in a room without anyone else, (or any cameras) and we open the fridge and find a cherry pie inside labeled with someone else's name, we'll look over our shoulder, grab a fork and a knife and wolf down a piece. 
OK, maybe not everyone. 
Maybe I wouldn't eat a piece of someone else's pie.  I wouldn't go that far, but I might leave my coffee mug in the sink without washing it.  I might leave my orange in the fridge long enough for it to turn into a science experiment.  I might decide to zap my leftover tuna casserole in the microwave, despite the fact that it will make the whole office smell like a wharf.

Bottom line? We need all these signs because as human beings, we are driven by our own selfish desires and it is only by the grace of God within us that we think of anyone else besides ourselves.  We must be taught as children how to share, play nicely, be patient - these traits do not come naturally.  If we grow up in a home where there is some religious teaching, than we are taught the Golden Rule.
"Do unto others as you would have done unto you." Or...
"If you wouldn't want someone to do this to you than don't do it to them!!!" in break-room parlance.  Leave someone else's pie alone.  Clean up after yourself.  Do your own dishes.  Be polite. Think of others first.
If we are Christians and we are selfish, it is because we forget that we belong to Christ.  That he is always with us. That we are to put the needs of others before our own, be considerate, kind and compassionate.  This is not easy.  It goes against the grain of our very nature, but it is who we are called to be.   Christ-like. Even when no one is watching.  Especially when no one is watching.  Maybe it would help if we put a sign up to remind us:


Philippians 2:3
Galatians 5:17

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