I’ve shared multiple times how a conversation in 1990 at a Whataburger in Waco, Texas has stuck with me like a double-meat, double-cheese, no-tomatoes, no-onions, extra-jalapenos, Whatasized, with a Diet Coke order now sticks to my 44-year-old dad body. Both the conversation and the greasy-good burger tend to linger. God used one of my Sunday School teachers named Dudley Callison to write three things on a Whataburger napkin to help answer a question I had about being a follower of Jesus as a 17-year-old student.
As I sat in the booth across from Dudley, I asked him what I needed to do to really become the person Jesus wanted me to become. I had become a Christian in the second grade and followed in baptism shortly afterwards. That was a decade earlier in 1980. At this point in my life at the Whataburger, I was an upper class-man in high school. What could I do to become who Jesus wanted me to be at that point in my older teenage life?
Dudley told me there was not a magic formula, but there were at least three disciplines I could begin to live in my life day by day.
He wrote three things on a napkin:
1. Invest quiet moments alone with God each day.
2. Develop a continual awareness of His presence.
3. Have a yielding obedience to His Spirit.
That was it. I walked out of the Whataburger that evening and never forgot what he said and wrote down. I have tried to live those three things as best I can day after day, month after month, year after year, and decade after decade. I have not been perfect in living those disciplines, but I have been consistent in trying to pursue Jesus and live a life that is becoming like Him.
This morning I wrote in my prayer journal a prayer of thanksgiving for that conversation with Dudley. I am still investing quiet moments alone with God some 27 years later. I also wrote in my prayer journal a desire for my son and daughter both to develop a passion and rhythm of investing quiet moments alone with God as they begin new rhythms with their daily devotionals during the summer days now that school is out.
Yesterday my wife took the kids to a local Christian bookstore to purchase new devotional guides. Today was the first day to start a new rhythm of reading, praying, and investing some quiet moments alone with God in the morning as they start the day. No, we are not rigid task-master parents. Yes, we do give our kids (and ourselves) expectations to grow healthy in our lives. We all have some daily expectations as a family. Investing a few quiet moments alone with God is one of them. There still is plenty of time to play Nintendo Switch, go to the pool with friends, play baseball, go to cheer/tumbling practice, hang out and watch TV, and make videos on their devices. The wisdom from Whataburger still shapes our lives.
Who knew that such a conversation at Whataburger would continue producing results nearly three decades later? God knew. And he sent Dudley to tell me. You never know how impacting a conversation over a burger and fries may end up being in someone else’s life.