I have recently come to realize that I need to write more and that everything I write doesn’t have to be profound, but merely from the heart and genuinely full of Jesus. Yesterday my husband and I went to a Grand Opening but not for a fancy restaurant, a new trendy store, or to a theater downtown; this Grand Opening was for a McDonalds. Yep… the Golden Arches, Happy Meals, and Christians….lots of them.
Let me explain.
We moved to Owasso just a few months ago and shortly after that, a local McDonalds closed; to the ground, leveled, completely starting from scratch…closed. The owners I later learned are members of our church but it is not because of that I chose to blog about them. What they did was “blog worthy” because it is something we should all strive to be….truly living God-like.
Their doors would be closed for the entire summer with promises of bigger and better to follow, but what would happen to their employees when these changes were being made? This wasn’t a question I ever really thought about when restaurants or stores were “Closed for Remodeling” but the answer is unbelievable. He kept each employee on his payroll and paid them their wages as if they were working; there was just one catch….they had to volunteer in the community; a community in every sense of the word and not one I have ever been a part of. When asked about his Supersized Heart by a news reporter at the Grand Opening, he said simply… “My wife and I prayed about it and knew it was something we needed to do.” The sum was about $120,000 out of their own pocket but he went on to say “We had faith that this would come back to us; that our customers would come, and that God would provide for us so the decision was an easy one to make.”
The restaurant actually opened at Midnight on Friday night but we made our way there for lunch the following day. The extra-large parking lot was filled to capacity, the drive-thru was wrapped around the corner, and there was a steady stream of cars making their way to be a part of it. Where anyone would have left at such a sight before, they were now just happy to be there and almost looked forward to the wait….us included. We were lucky enough to find a spot and I couldn’t hold back a giggle as I thought to myself “If you build it…they will come” from Field of Dreams.
As we neared the door to step inside this brand new building we heard music piped through speakers inside and out; Christian music…Chris Tomlin welcoming us to a lunch of cheeseburgers and french fries. Despite the craziness of cars coming and going, looking for parking, and people all making their way to the inside, it was surprisingly calm when we got inside. We were welcomed by an older gentleman who told us that we were about to experience the best food in town “We’re so glad you’re here.” We said “So are we.” I found a table for two in the corner and sat down as Robbe went to place our orders; jumping into a line with at least ten people in front of him and soon just as many behind him.
I sat in my corner spot and took it all in. For all intents and purposes it was a regular McDonalds; shiny new tables and TVs on the wall, colorful seating and new soda machines. But there was something different about this one and everyone there seemed to feel it too. Jesus was in this McDonalds….He was in the owner who had faith this would happen, He was in the gentleman that welcomed us literally with open arms, He was in the guests that sat eating their burgers just as they had done a million times before. He was even at the center of a table where a family took off their hats, held hands, and prayed before eating their meal. There were flowers on each table and at closer inspection; there was a business card that promoted another local business. It was the most humbling of experiences to be sitting there, knowing we were a part of it.
With each new face that walked in, the greeting was the same, the feeling of kindness was not only palpable but contagious. Maybe it is the writer in me but I just couldn’t help thinking that is what Jesus wants for all of us and it really shouldn’t be as newsworthy as it was. We should all be doing this every day, and if we were….this would be just “another day at the office,” standard protocol and not this amazing experience. I honestly felt that someone told this owner and all of his employees that Jesus was going to be coming today and they didn’t know what He looked like so they were to treat us all as if He could have been us. Was Jesus in the 6 year old brimming with excitement to see the new Play Place? Could He have been the woman in the wheelchair that needed extra room at a table? Was He the guest dressed as a Flapper on her way to a party? Or maybe, just maybe….He was the slightly chunky redhead seated in the corner at a table for two. We were all treated as if we were the one they opened this restaurant for and had faith in. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
Maybe it was just another McDonalds for some that happened into the doors yesterday but it was definitely more than that for me. The most important thing I have learned since moving to “Nineveh” is perspective. When looked at through the eyes of a human things get muddied and frustrating, but when we look at things as Jesus would have us look at them, there is a difference; a great, amazing difference. When I make things about me or “stuff”, it is always disappointing but when I give Him the credit and ask “What would Jesus do?” and live that way…. life seems almost easy.
Thank you Jesus for giving me a new perspective and a new heart. Thank you for allowing me to see your Supersized influence in one couple’s lives and how a community is truly a community in your name. Thank you for letting me see Jesus in others with hopes to emulate that, so others see you in me. Thank you for a great lunch date and inviting us to YOUR Grand Opening; it was awesome to see others congregating in your name somewhere OTHER than a church on Sunday.