Some see in this account a paradigm of ministry, in particular, of women’s ministry. To that, I say ‘yes’, but first I say ‘no’.
I say ‘no’ if one means that waiting on tables, dishing out food, and washing up is the ministry of women. Either in the sense that women are God’s chosen for these tasks or that these tasks represent the only kind of ministry women should do.
The word the NIV translates ‘wait on’ is the same word used to describe the essence of Jesus’ messianic mission.
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)
Serving others is the way of Jesus. This is the attitude he exemplified in his ministry. This is the attitude all his followers must seek to emulate. Serving others in Jesus name is gender neutral and situation specific.
With that said, I now say ‘yes’. To wait table is a paradigm for ministry because it demonstrates the missional mindset of Jesus (see Phil 2:5-11).
How can we grow, right where we are, in this attitude?