A Necessary Juxtaposition

      Some might recall my experience with Subway last year on Veteran’s Day. In Baltimore I visited eight Subway stores anticipating that the organization would honour its promise of providing a six inch sub sandwich to veterans. To My dismay and chagrin neither of the stores in the downtown Baltimore area provided me that sandwich. I was more troubled that a professional letter of inquiry was sent to Subway’s corporate offices soon after the event in November of last year and to date Subway has yet to respond to me. I said it then and I say now, shame on Subway.

     In light of that I find it necessary to juxtapose Subway with a much different organization in a totally different city. You see, there are some stores that don’t make a lot of fan fair yet the work done by them is most honorable. One such organization is Chick-fi-la in general and the Collins Street store (http://www.cfarestaurant.com/northcollinsstreet/home) in particular. My experience with this organization and store is worth raving about. However I would not have had the good pleasure of enjoying the professionalism and excellent products of great restaurant were it not for my brother, a police captain in the Baltimore Police Department, who gave me and my siblings 2014 Chick-Fi-la gift cards for Christmas last year. What a generous and thoughtful gift!

     Because of the gift card provided me I have had the opportunity to visit the Collins Street Chick-fi-la a few times. My visit early this week allowed me to see signs indicating that there would be a military appreciation day which took place yesterday from 4:00 to 7:00 P.M. yesterday. I arrived around 6:00 and found much more than I anticipated. There were police directing traffic and a parking lot filled with a number of sponsors all of whom had small gifts for veterans. All that was needed was the presentation of a military or veteran identification card. So, I presented my ID and was not only given a ticket for a great chicken sandwich meal with waffle fries and lemonade but also other gifts including a Chick-fi-la moo-moo cow bearing an olive drab billboard with the inscriptions “Life, liberty and the pursoot of chickin” and “21 chickin salute.” These things were underscored by the professionalism and courteous demeanor of the plentiful staff of Chick-fi-la. Thank you so much Chick-fi-la.

     Perhaps the honesty and unexpected largess of Chick-fi-la goes to the Christian roots of its founder S. Truett Cathy which can easily be juxtaposed with the not so Christian ideals of Subway. The fact is that Christians, by virtue of their dedication to holiness, are often generous. Moreover Christians tend to keep to their word no matter personal costs. This apparently is the attitude of S. Truett Cathy and has filtered throughout the restaurant chain. This is a lesson that can be applied to Christians at large in that the keeping of one’s word, particularly when that word is unsolicited, is extremely important and under girds the integrity of the one putting out that word.

     Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 reads, “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, then that thou shouldest vow and not pay.” And while this text is specific to vowing to God the idea of making promises and vows without fulfilling them is an inherent problem and should not be an issue among Christians. Jesus furthers the matter in Matthew 5:33 when He states “Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths…” These oaths to the Lord are not just specific to Him but also to those that serve and love Him.

     It is for this reason that Christians need to be very careful about promise they make. If a promise is made then the promise needs to be kept no matter how insignificant the promise may seem to be. This promise of a Christian extends from many levels to multitudes of relationships. It could be a simple “I’ll call you” to the vow of marriage for better or worst. Any breaking of any promise to a Christian is like vowing a vow to God and not honoring it. Even so there are many that break vows as though their words mean nothing. The text in Ecclesiastes counts such ones as fools.

     With that said I thank Chick-fi-la for honoring the veterans of this nation and for keeping a vow that may seem little yet is much in the sight of the Lord.

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