Mac and Cheese & Paying Attention to Others’ Needs

A very successful businessman inadvertently taught me a lesson about paying attention to other people’s needs … with macaroni and cheese.

Recently I ate breakfast at my favorite diner with one of our church’s key leaders. He owns a flourishing business and gives quite generously to our church. As I enjoyed the blue plate special of eggs, pancakes, and Canadian bacon, I asked him how business was faring. He described one recent experience with a potential client that brought a smile to my face and a fresh reminder that I must pay closer attention to other people’s stories.

He had scheduled a lunch with a local company CEO and remarked that she ordered only salad and mac & cheese. I thought that a bit odd, as did he until he said, “She explained that her favorite food was mac & cheese.”

He then described a second luncheon with this CEO at this office he had scheduled for the next Monday.

The menu that day? Mac & cheese from six different restaurants.

From a business perspective, he ordered this novel lunch menu hoping to make a good impression on a client that might garner more business. But I thought to myself, What a creative and thoughtful way to touch a person’s life.

His kind gesture may not bring new business, but I’m convinced that this CEO will never forget his thoughtfulness. My friend simply paid attention to someone else’s unique interests.

As I drove back to the office after that breakfast and mulled over this mac & cheese luncheon, God impressed these thoughts on me.

  • Do I pay close enough attention to the leaders, friends, and spiritual seekers in my life to discover their unique interests?
  • Do I consider those  interests as invitations from God upon which I could capitalize and in doing so become Jesus’ hands and feet?

I don’t think I will ever see mac & cheese in the same way again.

A question for you: How have you met other people’s practical needs after discovering something unique about him or her?

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