One of the best things about New Jersey is our restaurants! Some places may have more restaurants than us, but I would argue that we have some of the best, and by far, the greatest variety! We are surrounded by all types of delicious food! American, Thai, Chinese, Mexican, Guatemalan, Cuban, Soul Food, you name it, we can find it and eat it! Of course, some might say NYC is the best place to go, but why? We have so many great places right in our own neighborhoods! I certainly have my favorites, and none of them are in NYC! My top choices are all in New Jersey, including Brothers Smokehouse in Ramsey NJ, Lucky’s Steakhouse in Fair Lawn NJ, Bangkok Gardens in Hackensack NJ, Yuki Japanese Restaurant in Oakland NJ, and Junior’s Pizza in Oakland NJ. Now, there are certainly other restaurants that I enjoy. There are so many! But the reason why these places are at the top of my list is not just because of the food! Sure, the food is great! But what makes these restaurants my favorite is also the service! Again, the food is awesome, but what put these places at the top of my list is the service! The waiters, waitresses, chefs, and owners are even better than the food! Many of them know me by name and are always kind and attentive! In fact, one restaurant named a platter after me! It is grilled BBQ chicken, large coleslaw, and sweet potato fries! They call it the “Big Daddy!” The difference is the service! Just a couple weeks ago we visited a new restaurant in Hackensack known for its famous chef, and the food was great! But we will not visit again anytime soon because the service was terrible! How you treat people really matters! This is true for restaurants, and it is certainly true for our faith! Our job is to serve up the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the world! Of course, what we are serving is awesome. Jesus is the main course! We are His ambassadors in this world, or following my restaurant illustration, we are waiters and waitresses serving up the Gospel! And regardless of how good the main course is, how we treat people; how we serve them, can greatly impact how receptive they might be to the main course! For example, today’s scripture talks about Christian households. While there is some historical and cultural context that we need to appreciate when we read today’s scripture, the main point, and what is relevant today, is how we treat each other within our supposed Christian households matters! As Christians, we have the responsibility to encourage our spouses, children, parents, and other family members to embrace God’s Word, and live accordingly. But how can we effectively proclaim God’s Word, if we treat family members in an un-Christlike manner? Why would they listen to us if we say one thing, but treat them differently? Hypocrisy is distracting, and it can create animosity toward God’s Word! Earlier in Colossians, Chapter 3, the writer of today’s scripture, the Apostle Paul, wrote, beginning at verse 12, As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. It is just like the great service offered at my favorite restaurants! For us to serve up the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ most effectively, we need to treat others right! We are called to proclaim the Gospel to the world; to all nations, but if we cannot get it right within our respective family circles, what chance do we have with the rest of the world? We need to teach our children, but if we are living wrong, why would they listen to us? We need to encourage our spouses, but again, if we are living wrong, why would they listen to us? Once, while meeting with a Christian couple going through a tough time in their marriage, I shared 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful… And the wife responded, “Pastor, this is great! As soon as my husband stops being so rude, I’ll stop complaining!” And the husband replied, “As soon as my wife stops being so irritable, I’ll stop being so rude!” Both the husband and wife were Christians, but neither was willing to serve up God’s Word the way God intended! Neither one was willing to be the good waiter! So today, for all of us, please be careful! There is someone within your household who needs to hear the Gospel, and they probably need to hear it from you! And yes, Jesus is the main course! But how you serve Him up matters! Tell your family members about the Lord, but also let them see the Lord within you! Compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience! Again, for us to serve up the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ most effectively, how we treat others; what we say and what we do, really does matter!