In the city of Honolulu, near the border of Waikiki, there is a restaurant called Ono Cheese Steak (“oh-no” is a Hawaiian word that means “good,” “delicious,” or “desirable”). This place serves the most amazing Philly cheese steak sandwiches!
At Ono one day, I thought about how lucky I was to be eating a Philly steak sandwich, and not just a boring lunch back at my apartment. What a contrast between devouring that Philly and choking down some stale bread at home!
This reminded me of the different ways we can look at our service to God, particularly when he has entrusted us with leadership positions. I’ve seen some get immense joy out of their service as leaders. I’ve also seen others dread what they’re asked to do, finally choking it down when they absolutely must. What makes the difference? God has infinitely more responsibilities that we can comprehend, but He also has a fullness of joy. If we do it right, shouldn’t we also find joy in serving the Lord in leadership positions?
The difference between serving and finding no joy, and serving and actually finding joy is the difference between choking down a boring lunch and devouring an ono Philly cheese!
How do we go about making the ono Philly cheese steak? How do we go about serving so that we can find joy? This is what my experience has taught me.
The Hearty Roll – Do Your Duty
Bread is vital to any sandwich, and, likewise, doing your duty is vital to any leadership position. It is the bare minimum required in any stewardship we’re given. We have to do the “chores” that come with the call, however menial they may seem, while at the same time trying to live as closely to the Savior’s life as we can. Not only will we be an example to those around us, but it will eliminate guilt, fill us with happiness, and qualify us for the Lord’s help and blessings (Mosiah 2:41).
The Seasoned Steak – Magnify Your Calling
Just as the steak adds flavor to the sandwich, we need to go above and beyond just the bare minimum if we expect any flavor to be added to our callings. The Savior admonished the apostles to be “ministers” (Matthew 20:26), and in a parable commended the servant that was “faithful,” even over just a few things (Matthew 25:21). In these last days, the Lord has said,
“O ye that embark in the service of God, see that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength… for behold, the field is white already to harvest; and lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not…” (Doctrine and Covenants 4:2,4).
These words speak not of those that offer the bare minimum, but go above and beyond it in caring for their part of the flock.
The Delicious Cheese Whiz – Have a Vision for those you Serve
At Ono, they give you the option of putting the real Philly cheese steak cheese on your sandwich- cheese whiz. The cheese whiz is what makes their sandwiches truly ono, delicious, and unique. Likewise, having a vision for those that are under your stewardship will make the way you serve truly ono. It changes the way you see them, and thus changes the way you serve them. And how should you see them? Perhaps as God does- as His children, with the potential to become more than what they are, to become as he is (Matthew 5:48, 3 Nephi 27:27)
Rex Lee, once a dean of the BYU Law school, said,
“It’s not enough to do the right thing. You have to do the right thing in the right way.”
I would add that you need to do the right thing (the roll) in the right way (the steak) for the right reason (the cheese whiz).
Only then can we make, and partake of, the ono Philly cheese steak sandwich and find true and lasting joy in the way we serve.