Not so many years ago, I worked at the front desk of the Crowne Plaza Resort here in Asheville. I was a supervisor, so part of my job was to help the other folks to do theirs. That meant I got the privilege to train new employees in their various roles. That might mean answering the phone, or checking in guests, or attending to their luggage. Along with the job itself, they would have to learn how to manage the eight lines on the phone, or how our computer system worked, or how best to stack a bellman’s cart. But for all the technical matters, there was one skill that mattered above the rest. How we treated the guests. And there was one man who was a master of the art, and his name was Gus.
Gus was an older man, I recall him celebrating his 80th birthday, and he was one of our bellmen (he looked a lot like the guy from the movie "Up!" to give you a mental picture). He was also a man who you knew had been a charmer in his youth. He used to come to the desk every morning and greet me with a big ole “Hello, Bill!”, and from time to time he’d even say to me “I’m sure the boys might call you Wild Bill, but I bet the ladies call you Sweet William.” Always full of a funny saying or a kind word, Gus was a joy to know and work with. But as is sometimes the case, Gus’ age worked against him occasionally. On the days when the hotel flipped, meaning all 270+ rooms checked out and new folks checked in, it was a mad house. Speed and efficiency were a priority, and Gus did his job well, but not necessarily as fast as a task-oriented supervisor like me might have wanted. Other times, when there were tour buses that came in packed to the brim with bags to be unloaded, Gus’ shorter stature and more seasoned body meant he took a little longer than a quick-paced middle-manager like me might have liked. (Don’t worry, if you’re already on Gus’ side, I never fussed at him.)
But let me say this. For whatever Gus may have lacked in speed and energy (and that’s a matter of opinion), he made up for in heaps with good ole fashioned consistent customer service. Gus spoke to everyone who walked in and out of that front door and he always did so with a smile, and a word, and sometimes even a wink. When I needed something taken across the building, and it’s a big, big hotel, Gus did so without a complaint. And when we received customer comment cards, Gus was always noted as a five-star employee because of his attitude and helpfulness. You see whatever else might have been going on, Gus knew (and I would learn), that reaching our goals with consistently good service consistently resulted in happy customers. Because being consistently faithful to a goal, like love, can cover a number of other issues.
In 1 Corinthians 15:58 we are reminded, “…be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” We are in a season in the life of the church where consistency matters much. There are certainly challenges that can come with times of transition, but if we will stay the course of the Gospel, we will find what we’ve already been finding; that God delivers. He delivers great blessings from his word, wonderful works of outreach, and even brings people to faith in him. And he uses our consistent faithfulness to him and his work here at Starnes Cove to bring about those gifts. As we patiently wait upon the search for our next pastor, let us continue to commit ourselves to the cause of consistently serving our King, Jesus Christ.
As we head into the final quarter of the year, we have some great opportunities ahead of us this month. The Church Picnic is October 6th, beginning with games at 4 and the meal at 5. We’ll have Trunk ‘R Treat on October 31st from 6:30 to 7:30. Our programs for children, youth, and adult ministry are in full swing. As you and your family consider how to spend your time in the month ahead, I encourage you to make your commitment to Starnes Cove and ultimately to Christ a top priority. Because as you consistently serve his kingdom, it grows in richness, and so do you.
Well this is “Sweet William” (or maybe Bitter-Sweet? Never mind, don’t answer that)…this is William signing off.
See you at Church, William