Restaurants are important because they cater to the basic human need of satisfying hunger.   People must eat; therefore, a restaurant must serve a useful purpose.   R. O. Gantz knew this too, so he decided to start one in the rapidly expanding town of Boomville.   R. O. Gantz was nicknamed “Arrow,” and he was known as the enterprising business man.  With his wife Ella Gantz, they made a fine couple with a purpose to establish a super deluxe restaurant on the attractive site with ample parking facilities.
When Arrow Gantz was ready to invite people to his Palace of Eats, he could boast of the best place in the community.   However, he spent a little more money than he could afford, on some lavish furnishings for the comfort of his patrons, but he thought it would impress his customers and the extra business would more than pay out.   On the building R. O. Gantz could boast of the best, but he decided to economize on his help and keep food costs at a minimum.  He installed Notta Chance as head cook with Noah Count in charge of the buying.   Among his waitresses he had Anne Tagonize and M. Barrass, while at the cash register he placed M. Bezzle in charge.   These helpers all pledged to work for minimum salaries and save as much as possible on food.   R. O. Gantz was open for business.
With a full page advertisement and plenty of fanfare it was not long until tables were at a premium in the Palace of Eats.   However, the popularity was short lived and quite a few left without showing any appreciation, and some even left portions of food on their plates.  Patronage dwindled.   R. O. Gantz decided he must have missed something, so he called his staff together and briefed them on the importance of courtesy and the value of appearance.   He outfitted his employees in the most attractive uniforms he could obtain and advertised this improvement widely.   While it worked for awhile, the increased business was not sustained.   Many patrons were irregular and others failed to return.   Arrow was perplexed and could scarcely sleep for worrying about his heavy liabilities and his meager patronage.
He resolved that his trouble must stem from insufficient attractions to entertain his guests.   He hired brilliant musicians and provided a soothing atmosphere, but his customers were not impressed.   Arrow confided his problems to his wife Ella Gantz, telling her that unless he could attract more customers he would soon be faced with bankruptcy.   Ella was inclined to blame the public for being too finicky and changeable.  She assured Arrow that their location was ideal, but she wondered if it would help to attract more customers if they painted the walls with picturesque designs.   Arrow lost no time in hiring the best artist he could employ to fill his walls with lovely murals with exotic pictures.   Although the patrons showed pleasure in the pictures, they failed to give any evidence of a corresponding enthusiasm about the food.   Somehow they did not care for the bill of fare.
At last R. O. Gantz had reached the end of his resources and he talked the gravity of the situation over with Ella Gantz.   They resolved to make one more try.   They went all out in offering door prizes and appealing by radio and press to bolster business.   It was to no avail.   The Palace of Eats was up for sale.   The sign read.  “For Sale Due to Bankruptcy – No Reasonable Offer Refused.”   R. O. Gantz had made every improvement on his establishment he could think of, but he overlooked the most important one.   That fateful omission brought about his insolvency.   What could it be?
A few days later, a well dressed man drove up and began negotiations to acquire the Palace of Eats.   He made a reasonable offer and it was not long until Honest Deal was the new proprietor.   Honest Deal went straight to the kitchen and asked for the list of  food purchases.   He found that Noah Count had bought mostly stale items, bargain priced meat and second class produce.   Notta Chance failed to produce variety and he lacked the skill to make food appetizing.   Honest Deal dismissed them and replaced them with the finest cooks on the market.   His next action took place in the service.   Anne Tagonize had a way of irritating customers.   M. Barrass was no better…so, out they went.   M. Bezzle handed in her resignation when she heard there was going to be an investigation of her handling of the cash register.   It was no wonder that Gantz went broke with her in charge.   Saving on food and service can be costly where the public is concerned.   Honest Deal believed that people patronize a restaurant for food---other things are incidental.   So he built up a sparkling trade by offering the best meals in town.   Soon the Palace of Eats was the most crowded place around.
Sometimes people like R. O. Gantz and Ella Gantz try to run our churches too.   They try for exterior glamour, fine buildings, good music and artistic programs.   But down in the heart of man, is a deep hunger for God and if this hunger is not satisfied they will remain in a state of spiritual starvation.   They may applaud the program and extol the grandeur of the physical surrounding, but when they seek God they will turn to the place where God’s Word is given forth in living freshness.   It must be undiluted and free from pollution or contamination with doubts and unbelief.   Restaurants that permit the serving of diluted milk, contaminated meat, ersatz coffee or any other ingredient that adversely affects the health of patrons, is condemned, and the proprietors are liable for prosecution.   Strange that the truth of God’s Word can be diluted and His laws violated, His message polluted and contaminated with every false doctrine and yet no one seems to think it matters much!   If a restaurant placed moldy bread before us, or unclean food, we would disregard the bargain price or the glitter of the surroundings.   Spiritual hunger is much the same.   The child of God loves “the sincere milk of the Word.”   People mature on the “strong meat” of doctrine and respond to the call to service when confronted with the demands of the Spirit of God.   If a church lacks quality, it’s not likely to survive any more than a restaurant that fails to give top priority to its bill of fare.
There’s nothing wrong in having physical surroundings that glorify the God we serve, but let’s never fail to communicate the love and concern that is borne of a fresh living experience with God.    The Word from the pulpit must be backed up by “the word that is lived” by the members in the pew before it will win the world.   The minister may not be able to convince men to follow Christ by his eloquence or charm, but no man can argue against the Bible that is demonstrated by the lives of those who profess to follow Him.   The call to church should be answered as eagerly as the call to dinner.   The spiritual satisfactions provided by the church should have the same beneficial effect on the growing Christian as a hearty meal has for a hungry, healthy growing young man. 



Back To Jerry's Parables And Short Stories