Tonight marks the end of an era – Jonathan Byrd’s, one of the really great Indianapolis area cafeterias, is closing down it’s line this evening. It will still be handling banquet and catering business, as well as maintaining the drive through and a small eat in restaurant, but the long cafeteria line, after serving more than 5 million meals over the last 26 years, went silent about an hour ago. Janet and I took two of our grandsons to dinner their earlier tonight – remembering how many times we have dined at this well known institution. And while we are sad on one hand, we can’t help but be excited about the future.
I first met my friend, Jonathan Byrd, about 15 years ago as I was trying to decide what seminary to attend. Jonathan spoke into that decision, as well as helping me launch Chaplains at Work, a workplace career transition ministry that several ministry friends and I started years ago. Jonathan taught me how to raise funds and was a large contributor, along with his wife, Ginny, in our early years. After Jonathan suffered a debilitating stroke, and subsequently passed away several years later, the rest of the family took over the business that Jonathan and Ginny started back in the late 1980’s.
I was eventually asked to help out and I am pleased to report that for the last three years or so I have been a part of the leadership team of this well known venue. And I have been honored to serve alongside some of the most God centered people I have ever worked with. Each major decision that we make is presented in prayer to God and believe me, we listen for that still small voice of God. Sometimes, our answer is received in the form of an affirmation while other times we find doors closed that then steer us in another direction. Our meetings start in prayer and we are committed to following our leader, Jesus Christ.
And it has become evident to us that the Lord is about to open a new chapter in the lives of Ginny Byrd and those people who have dedicated their careers to serving this family. Throughout the last quarter of a century, the eating habits and tastes of the public have changed and it will now be up to us to listen and determine what the Lord has in store for us next. We believe that we are being obedient to His call by closing the cafeteria portion of the operations at this time.
What comes next will be purely on a need to know basis. As I have said so many times, while we might want to know the whole story, God only imparts to us the next step or two and that’s all we need to know at this time. Once we have completed the next steps, God will reveal what we are to do next. And you know what? The leadership team and board are all in alignment on every aspect of the business.
So tonight is not as much about the closing of the cafeteria line as much as it is about obedience to what we believe we are supposed to do. Because we always try to follow the leader – Jesus. The verse for this evening is from the Proverbs. We are told, in Prov. 16:3, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” My encouragement tonight is that God is present and active in your life every step of the way. It’s not like He started the world and then just stepped away and watched the result. No – He is there, alongside you, every minute of every day. My prayer is that you will commit your plans to the Lord – and then sit back and listen. You’ll know what to do… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…