For a few brief moments, it was as if time were standing still. It was lunchtime Thursday, and I was trying to catch up with a few more people before leaving Abilene to journey back to Hohenwald after my trip to ACU’s Summit. I was excited to catch up with an old friend and to hear about the changes that are just around the corner for him and his family. I was excited to share with him stories of friendships developed in my new surroundings. Perhaps most of all, I was excited we were going to be able to share one more fantastic meal at Harold’s Pit Bar-B-Q.
But it wasn’t the smell of the mesquite-smoked beef brisket as we walked through the door that seemed to cause time to stand still. Rather, it was the sound of owner Harold Christian’s voice stopping all conversations in their tracks by inviting everyone in the room to join him in a song and launching into the familiar refrain of the gospel spiritual, “Amen.”
For a few moments, in the unlikeliest of places, it was as if we were standing on holy ground. The line stopped moving. Customers set their sandwiches down. Conversations ceased.
Sure there were some who didn’t sing along. Sure there were no conversion experiences. But that wasn’t the point. The point was that, for a moment, in that most ordinary place and time, Harold shared his faith, his foundation, with all who would listen in the way most natural for him: by using the beautiful, baritone voice God gave him.
Most of us aren’t going to interrupt a crowded restaurant by launching into songs. Indeed, most of us shouldn’t; God hasn’t placed us in a position like Harold’s or gifted us with that kind of voice. But Harold’s ability to allow his faith to permeate everything he does and to keep him grounded, even if it means sacrificing efficiency during the lunch rush, is an excellent example for us all. It is a picture of what it means to do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Here’s a video of the scene that day.