The Power of 20 Sandwiches

Last week, to celebrate our anniversary, my wife and I took a rare vacation and spent the week on a small island resort off the coast of Florida. When researching the trip, the goal was to find a small, quiet and secluded place to recharge and rest. The first morning I couldn’t wait to get to the private, quiet pavilion to read and drink my coffee in peace. With coffee in one hand and my Bible in the other, I sat down to begin the day. In the distance, I noticed a small boat making its way to shore. Boats in the Gulf of Mexico are a common sight but this was different. It looking like a floating bath tub, made of wood, packed with hysteric and bewildered people.

Word spread quickly throughout the resort of the incoming guests and several resort employees made their way to the water’s edge to intercept the company. Compelled to learn more, I made my way to the docks and discovered that 20 Cuban migrants had fled from their homeland and were adrift 7 days with little food and water.

As I drew closer to the commotion, my first thought was to return to my cabana but as my curiosity grew, I was interested to see what I could do. With a hotel full of affluent guests, the staff sought to be professional and keep a distance between their patrons and the Cuban party.

So with a little reluctance I asked the staff if we could get them food and water. (With total transparency, my reluctance came because amenities at resorts can be high and I was wrestling with being obedient to what I felt like God was calling me to). ‘Can you make 20 sandwiches and some drinks and charge it to the room’, I asked one of the staff. In the back of my mind, my flesh crept in and I continued to calculating the cost. Seeking to steal God’s glory and my joy in the situation, I began to second guess my decision – this may mean we need to spend with caution the rest of the trip.

As the staff sprang to action, I was reminded of a simple truth – God provides. He always provides in time of need. God has met every need in my life and affords me opportunity to be faithful and seek the needs of those who are hurting, hungry and helpless.

A few minutes later, the sandwiches came out of the kitchen on a beautiful display. With tray in hand, I headed to the dock to serve. The majority of the hotel guests and staff watched from afar but a handful stepped up and helped. As I walked out to the end of the dock, I was received with all the gratitude in the world as the Cuban surrounded me and began to pass out the sandwiches. The men were intentional to make sure the woman were served first. It was also apparent that the weaker and more frail individuals were attended to before the stronger men ate their food. Even in the midst of exhaustion, each person looked for ways to serve and care for each other. I experienced a powerful trickle down effect of generosity and gratitude. Despite an inability to communicate with words due our language barrier, they each gave me a thankful nod.

Braving the high seas between our free country and the socialist republic of Cuba is not for the faint of heart. Attempting this perilous 91 nautical mile trek across the Straight of Florida with makeshift boats has claimed the lives of many men and women desiring a free life in America.

As Marilyn and I ate dinner later that night, multiple staff and guests came over and thanked us for the kindness we shared earlier on the beach. Several guests even pulled as aside and asked if we were followers of Jesus. At the conclusion of the meal, the manager approached our table and informed us that the resort was taking care of our dinner. For most of the day, I was questioning whether giving and serving a group of strangers was meaningful and impactful. By the end of the day, I was reminded that I can’t out give or out serve God.

Isaiah 58:10: “If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.”

Men, pour yourself out. Serve others and seek to be a light in dark and gloomy places. Look for simple acts of obedience and take them. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” God is scouring the earth to find those who will bless others!

As we encourage Red Truck Men to pursue honor, be aware that the door to help others will often swing open in places that you may never consider. Step up and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Be a blessing. Be a man.

As I close, let these words from Christ resonate over your life – “Truly I tell you, whatever you did do for one of the least of these, you did for me (Matthew 25:40).”