“The Taste of the Roast”

Early one Friday morning in January, I was doing a Management Conference in Jacksonville, FL.  I was with two other speakers.  We’d been in five cities in Florida during the week–too busy!

I had picked up some sort of a respiratory bug that was causing me to have a hard time breathing.  The thought of speaking all day was very unpleasant.  That particular morning, it had gone into my sinuses and throat so I was very hoarse.  But we had a large crowd coming, so as the saying goes, “The show must go on!

I arrived at the hotel where we were presenting around 7:00 a.m. to make sure that everything was set up correctly.  I was not feeling well and quite frankly, was not in the best of moods.  I stopped by the Banquet Manager’s office to take care of a few small details.

The gentleman’s name was Frank Phinizy.  He noticed that my voice was hoarse and expressed concern for my situation.  Most people would let something like this just pass by.  But not Frank . . . 

“You don’t sound so good” Frank said.

I told him that I wasn’t feeling very well, but that I’d be okay.

I went back into ballroom.  A few minutes later, a young lady came in with a silver tray of green tea, honey, lemon wedges, and hot water.

“Frank said to take care of you and make sure that you drank this.  Go ahead.  I’m not leaving til you do,” she said with a smile on her face.  I was somewhat surprised by this small, but compassionate act.  Most folks who are as busy as Frank would just let situations like this go by—not noticing someone who is in need, or if they did notice, not doing anything because they were too busy.

Frank began to stop by every 15 minutes or so to make sure that I was drinking my “medicine”.  His spirit was so genuine.  He really cared.  There was a “lightness” about Frank.  He was always smiling.  You could just see happiness flowing from ever pore of his being.  He showed real concern for the predicament I was in.

During the morning he brought several of his staff by and introduced them to me.  “Make sure that Mr. Mallon is well taken care of today.”  At breakfast I was served like a king.  When my waitress greeted me, she used my name.  Trays of hot tea, honey, and lemons appeared every hour or so throughout the day.

Later in the morning during a break I stopped by his office to thank him for his service and for going above and beyond the call of duty.  He explained that for years he had been a head chef at one of Jacksonville’s finest restaurants.  He showed me a signed menu from President Bush who he had had the honor to cook for.  He had just recently taken the position of Banquet Manager.

“Robert, I live by a saying which I heard years ago,

‘The taste of the roast is determined by the handshake of the host.’”

What an awesome saying!

I wrote it down.  He continued to check on me during the day.  He even brought fresh cut orchids and placed them on a table in my room.  He said that he thought we’d enjoy them.

At the end of the day, I went to his office to ask him for his card and to again thank him.  I truly felt better because of his “medicine.”  As we said our goodbyes, I noticed a small Bible sitting right in the middle of his desk.  I asked him if he was a Christian.  He said, “Absolutely!”  That explained it!  Frank’s secret was that he really had the heart of a servant.  The Bible that was lying there told me a lot about who he really was.

St Francis said,

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words too.”

What this means is that we are to “live” as Christ lived, serving others with our actions.  Service is a verb.  In order to serve, we must “do” something…

What can you do for someone today, to make their load a little lighter?

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