We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
We met when I was just a kid. A long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away (think Star Wars) one of my favorite things to do in the summer was to go and visit my sister and brother-in-law in Daytona Beach. I lived in Jacksonville and they were kind enough to invite me to spend a week with them. Trust me…it was like a different world. Our west Jacksonville neighborhood was half town and half country and the most exciting thing that ever happened was if and when there was a fire call, and we would chase the firetruck. I’ll write more on that one day.
Now compare that with Daytona Beach. Can someone say, “Night and day?” Daytona Beach was a happening place and there was always something to do. We would drive over to the beach, cruise the strip, and go out to eat. One of my favorite places to go was Steak and Shake. Back in the early and mid 60’s, it was not a new establishment, but it was still up and coming. They were famous for their steak burgers, skinny fries, and milkshakes. For a ten year old from the westside of Jacksonville, it was heaven.
Steak and Shake was different than most fast-food places. There, you could actually go inside, be seated and be served, and through the years that is how it has remained. When I grew up, it was only natural that Steak and Shake was one of my “go to” places to eat. Oh, it wasn’t an every-week event, but we did go about once a month. The routine was always the same. Park, go inside and be seated, order, eat, and leave. It worked well, but then something called COVID changed things up. First, and at most locations, you can now only go through the drive-thru. But in Cookeville, Tennessee we stumbled upon the future—the new Steak and Shake.
At this location, which I am sure will be true for all the rest too, when you walk in, there is not a hostess to seat you and no counter to order at. Instead, there are several kiosks (computer touch-screens) and from there you can order your food. Then…you just sit down…wherever you want. Feel free to go up and get your drinks from the drink station (remember, this wasn’t in Illinois) and finally someone would bellow out your order number and you would walk up and get your food. Boom—just like that burgers and fries were flying into hungry mouths washed down by delicious milkshakes. It was new, it was different and I loved it.
I am sure that the COVID mess that we all have disdained is at least partly responsible for their new system, but it also shows that not all the changes are going to be bad. At our church we are doing Wednesday nights totally different, and it is totally working. We have a men’s group called “Man Time” (how creative is that); a women’s Bible study (well, not creative but it works) and then something called “The Big A Club” for the kids. There are people everywhere. And get this—men are coming to church on a Wednesday night! What? And it all came about because of the pause that COVID caused.
Someone from ancient times (I’m not talking about 1950!) said the only thing constant is change and they were right. Some of the changes are not good. In fact, some of the cultural changes might be considered dangerous. But we need to work to accept the good and temper the others. It gives us a great opportunity to be the salt and light that Jesus talked to us about. People all around us have lots of questions which should lead to lots of opportunities to talk about faith…and Jesus.
Romans 8:28 remains one of the most popular verses in the Bibles. It says that for those who love God, He can bring good out of every situation. We sure like to quote that, but I wonder if we are willing to trust it? Hey, I’ve been writing three small words for a year and some of you have been here for that whole time—“He’s got this.” So, as things morph around us, let’s be courageous enough to address the dangerous, but flexible enough to embrace the other. It might not be easy but if He is in control and we trust Him…it’s gonna be fine. And, can I say it one more time? He’s got this. Bro. Dewayne