Monday, February 24, 2014

For I Was Hungry And You Gave Me Something To Eat...

In 2012, Chik-Fil-A restaurant made national headlines when their company president, Dan Cathy, professed his belief in traditional, Biblical marriage. Cathy professed his belief in Biblical teachings about marriage and was immediately branded a bigot by the left-wing media, liberals and gays around the country. The coverage went on for weeks.

GLAAD and other gay and liberal organizations tried a boycott of the restaurants and demonstrated in Chik-Fil-A's all across the country. But it didn't really have much effect. In fact, when conservatives and Christians demonstrated in favor of the Christian based company Chik-Fil-A had a world record sales day. There were lines around most of the restaurants in the country and many of them sold out of food that day.

There hasn't been much mentioned about Chik-Fil-A by the main stream media since then. So it's no surprise that many news outlets didn't bother to mention something done by one Chik-Fil-A restaurant during a recent emergency that demonstrated their Christian beliefs very clearly.

During the recent snow and ice storm across the South one Chik-Fil-A restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama, went out of their way to help their fellow man in a very Christian way. Chik-Fil-A owner Mark Meadows closed the restaurant early that day so his employees could go home. But it was quickly discovered that no one was going anywhere. Cars on the highways in Birmingham were stranded and the freeways were jammed up and not moving. People were stranded where they were - some in buildings but many in vehicles on the roadways.

The manager of the restaurant, Audrey Pitt, described the conditions: “Our store is about a mile and a half from the interstate and it took me two hours to get there. It was a parking lot as far as I could see. At one point there were more people walking than driving.”

Some of the people along the highway near the restaurant had been stuck up to seven hours. Since they couldn't go home, Meadows and his staff went to work instead. They fired the kitchen back up and began preparing chicken sandwiches as quickly as they could. When they had several hundred meals ready they went out into the storm and began handing out hot meals to the stranded motorists on both sides of highway 280. 

Some drivers tried to pay for their meals but Meadows and his staff refused to accept any money. Audrey Pitt explained why:

“This company is based on taking care of people and loving people before you’re worried about money or profit. We were just trying to follow the model that we’ve all worked under for so long and the model that we’ve come to love. There was really nothing else we could have done but try to help people any way we could.”

Interestingly, Meadows and Pitt were not finished serving their stranded neighbors. They helped push vehicles off the roads and whatever else they could do outside. Then they kept the restaurant open all night and invited stranded motorists in so they could have a warm place to spend the night. Some actually slept in booths, on benches and on the floor.

The next morning the team again fired up the kitchen to make chicken biscuits for their overnight guests. Again they refused to accept payment of any kind. During that 24 hour period they demonstrated not only their Christian values but their love and concern for their fellow man. Meadows and his employees lived up to Jesus' words in Matthew 25:35: "For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in..."

Imagine - a group of Christians braving a storm to show kindness and generosity to hundreds of complete strangers, asking nothing in return. Talk about living your faith. They didn't even ask about sexual preference before handing food to stranded people. Hard to believe, huh?

If liberals didn't spend so much time hating Chik-Fil-A for not believing the same things they do they might actually see something good here. I can't help but wonder how many of those protesters from two years ago accepted food or shelter from Chik-Fil-A that night, forgetting about their differences long enough to eat or sleep...?

I realize this was only one restaurant in a large national chain but what an awesome demonstration of the faith and values of the owner and employees of that one restaurant, and the philosophy of the company. I imagine Jesus Christ would say "Well done, good and faithful servants."

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