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  • Writer's pictureDr. Jim Baldwin

Hunkered Down Homilies – Human

A human waiter with a robot assistant.

ENan and I had several good excuses for a road trip to Virginia last week. Our son and both of his daughters have February birthdays, so we had candles to blow out.  And our youngest granddaughter was in a school production of Frozen, Jr., so we had to go and cheer for “Elsa”. 

Following the play, we all went to our favorite Thai restaurant for a celebration dinner.  We ordered Panang Curry, as always, and sat back to wait for our meal to come.  After just a few minutes of waiting, our food was brought to the table by a robot!  I hate to sound stuck in the 20th century, but I have never been served by a robot before. Our dishes were placed strategically on the “arms” of the robot to assist the human waiter in giving each of us the right plate. The robot hovered at our table until all of the platters had been removed, then, with a touch of the screen, it began singing “Happy Birthday” for us. It was impressive!

I see some distinct advantages to having a robotic waiter.  As we watched the robot throughout dinner, we never saw it drop a plate.  Never heard it get angry with a customer. Never witnessed it crashing into another waiter, robot or human. Never heard it sing off-key. Still, I would take the human waiter any day. The human waiter was funny, informative, interested in everyone at the table, and even apologized for bringing the wrong drink. I liked him.

Sometimes I think God could do His work better if He were to replace humans with robots.  A robot could answer any question posed by an inquiring seeker.  A robot could instantly recall just the right scripture verse to impress your Bible study group.  A robot would always be charged up and ready to teach 5th graders about the Biblical practice of circumcision. 

But God has chosen to use us humans as vessels of His grace and power. The Apostle Paul wrote, “We carry this precious message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)  God is not interested in our having all the right words at the right time. He is not concerned about our always being fully-charged and error-free. God is looking for servants who are real.

Even if they sing off-key.

Dr. Jim Baldwin

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