What I Learned From Making Waffle Fries

So far it has not happened, but if I see Chick-fil-A waffle fries in my sleep I will know the reason why.

Paul, our third son, operates a Chick-fil-A restaurant in the Treasure Coast Square, a large shopping mall in Jensen Beach. Last week, he put out an APB, looking for help from the family for Black Friday. As one might expect, the biggest shopping day of the year brings the biggest appetites of the year. Always one to prepare, Paul was making sure all his customers went away with a great meal and a great experience at Chick-fil-A.

My job? I was there to deliver catering orders to some of the big-box stores nearby. These outlets were kindly taking care of their employees who were putting in long hours.

Well . . . that was the plan! As it turned out, the deliveries were the easy part. After a training session, I spent the better part of my day in the kitchen dropping waffle fries in the open fryer. We served up 2079 orders of waffle fries -- small, medium, and large! That's an order of fries for one person for every day of the year for five 1/2 years.

I went to Jensen Beach to be the "delivery guy," but God had lessons for me as the "fry guy!"

  1. The power of teamwork. Paul's team was fabulous. These folks are the Boston Pops of quick service. They worked in beautiful harmony to serve 2215 customers. The attention to detail, cooperation, "do-what-it-takes" attitude, and second-mile service was fun to watch (and be a part of). Way to go: Patrick, Josh, Jillian, Kerry, Jay, Austin, David, Judy, Linda, Davon, Latrice, Carol, Gabby, Moriah, Marcella, James, Jake, Sarah, Joey, Hillary, Nicole, Hannah, Lillian, Sarah, Shannan, Bethany, and Brent. As I think of all of you, I am reminded of the fantastic team with whom I serve week in and week out at Spanish River Church. And I think about all that can be done when "people have a mind to work." (Nehemiah 4:6)
  2. The satisfaction of hard work. Work does bring its own reward. Solomon reminds us, "the work of a man’s hand comes back to him." (Proverbs 12:14) There were some tired employees at that store, and rightly so. It was a long day! There were tired feet, tired backs, and tired bodies, but a lot of smiles, celebrations, satisfied customers, and the enjoyment of seeing new sales records reached. Hard work does that.
  3. The joy that comes with serving others. Honestly, I was not particularly jazzed about being a CFA employee for the day. The Thanksgiving holiday brings a rare two-day break, and I was not preaching on Sunday so the pressure was really off last week. I was looking forward to some DOWNTIME not KITCHEN-TIME, especially when I walked into the kitchen at 1:30 a.m. But the upside of downtime could not compete with the good things God did in my soul "in the kitchen." Nor could two days of chillin' out bring the joy I received by seeing the team's great effort, our family's willingness to help out, and the satisfaction on my son's face at the end of the day. It is ALWAYS "more blessed to give than to receive." (Acts 20:35)

I am grateful that God has allowed me to serve him through pastoral ministry for over 30 years now, but on this Black Friday when I was feeling just a little blue, God brightened my day making waffle fries.