Happy Birthday To Me
I believe Christians should have more fun than anybody else. After all, we have the joy of knowing we have eternal life in the Presence of a loving God Who WANTS to be with us.
I spent 2 1/2 decades in student ministry. Plenty of time to learn and to teach how to have fun in the best sense of the word. You can take the man out of student ministry, but you can’t take the student ministry out of the man (okay, maybe even boy, since my nickname was Peter Pan). I LOVE to have fun, and I love to put smiles on the faces of others.
One of my favorite tricks of the “having fun” trade has been to have “surprise birthday” celebrations for people. Now, I’m not talking about a party on someone’s actual birthday. I mean seeing folks we know eating out at a restaurant and getting the wait staff to do their birthday thing for someone at that table. I always offer to buy the birthday treat, and I always explain to our server that it isn’t really their birthday. Servers generally love going along with the gag, and the fake embarrassment of the birthday person is fun as well. I am careful about who I choose, because I do not want to seriously embarrass anyone. As a result of these shenanigans, servers have fun, the “celebratee” has fun, and my party has fun. Others in the restaurant who learn about the shenanigans seem to enjoy it as well.
Having pulled this trick on some dear friends from church in the past, imagine my joy when I saw them out to eat with a group of several others fro our church today. We were with a party of 9 Vero Christians ourselves. I walked over to the other group, and asked Jane if she was going to tell the server her age when they came over to sing “happy birthday” to her. We laughed and I headed to our table on the other side of the restaraunt. As our meal was ending, I told the crew about the birthday celebration, and asked how many of them would go sing with me. All the men at our table went (wimpy women, lol). As we went over, the other party was getting up to leave. When they refused to sit back down, we sang happy birthday to Jane anyway. Smiles could be seen all around where we stood. Jane insisted that I needed to go back and sit down. I complied.
I was no sooner back in my seat when a group of servers came clapping and whooping to sing happy birthday to me while delivering a chocolate cake and ice cream birthday treat! Well played Cliff & Jane. Well played. I have taught them well. I whooped and celebrated with the servers, shared the delicious death by dessert with my tablemates, shared laughs with them, and the now departing-the-restaraunt group. As we enjoyed the dessert, I let our crew know that if they see me in a restaurant in the future, they had better join me at my table unless they want to be serenaded. One of the women at our table replied, that moving to my table wouldn’t necessarily make any difference. She’s probably right.
What are your favorite ways to spread the joy of Christian living? I’d love to hear from you.
If you ever see me out to eat in a restaurant, just remember, it might be your birthday. It might be mine, too.