We were finishing our meal at a nationally branded restaurant, when the assistant manager approached our table. She said with a toothy smile, “I hope you have enjoyed your meal. Was everything just perfect?”
Theologically, “perfect” means that something has reached completion, wholly mature, and ethically fully grown. One Greek word for perfect is Teleioteros. It refers to the very presence of God. So, when I hear the word perfect, I think of Christ and the glories of Heaven. To find perfection in my green beans seems improbable, if not impossible. As it says in James 3:2 NASB, “For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man.”
Besides, my wife was sitting next to me. If I say the green beans at the restaurant are perfect, where in the ranking will I place her incredible green beans? It was unfair and problematic for this abject stranger to confront me with this question.
So, after a few moments of mental anguish, I said, “No.” If I had slapped her smiling face with a wet breadstick, she could not have been more appalled. In shock and dismay she asked what was wrong with the meal. What could they have done better? As I fumbled for words, the manager appeared with a look of consternation. He, too, was dumbfounded. He explained that he had been a restaurant manager for many years, and that this facility was the best of all of them. They had a superb chef and wait-crew, and used the finest of ingredients.
But the more he talked, the less perfect things seemed to me. I pointed out that my first fork was dirty and there were crumbs on the seat when we arrived. Also, I didn’t like the music. The toothy grin was gone, and the manager had folded his arms across his chest. How do you spell tense? Stone cold silence.
As we walked out, I did not have a happy feeling. They should not have forced me to have to lie to get out of the place. On the other hand, I probably should have simply said that everything was fine. Just guessing, but I don’t think they were looking for obsequium religiosum (theological dissent).
Whoa! Could it be that when people ask your opinion, they don’t really want it? Maybe. Several years later, we returned to that same restaurant. The last word I heard from the wait staff was, “Are you ready for your bill?” Perfect!