|Photo: Aviva by Kameel|
|Kameel Srouji (Photo: Aviva by Kameel)|
A hug? Doesn't that break some kind of food service code? Nevertheless, the businessman in front of us in line ducked around the counter into the kitchen area to hug the man who was larger than life. The chef's eyes twinkled. He lost no time in filling another plate. "Thank you. God bless you. Have a beautiful weekend."
I'm afraid I was a bit thrown, wondering if this was for real. (Is he saying "God bless you" because he heard that the Evangelical Theological Society is meeting next door? Did some study show that enthusiasm is good for business?) When I got to the cashier, I asked, "Is he always like this?" A big smile spread across her face. "Every day!"
|Photo: Aviva by Kameel|
The food was delectable.
And so the next day, with another friend, I did my time in line again. Brittany had her kids along with her at the conference, and her mom came to watch them. So the five of us waited, tasted falafel, and rounded the corner.
The booming voice. "You came back! How can I make you happy today?" (How can he possibly remember me when he serves hundreds of customers every day? Is it because he looks every one of us in the eye and recognizes that we are made in the image of God?) I suspect so.
Brittany asked if there was something less spicy for her kids. "Ah! For the little ones. This one is on me. No charge. Tell me -- what do they like to eat?" He proceeded to pile a plate with falafel, shwarma, grilled vegetables, and hummus. "Your children are beautiful. Thank you for feeding them real food!"
|Kameel's passion for food is obvious!|
Photo: Aviva by Kameel
When I arrived home from Atlanta I was still thinking about Kameel. We found him online, smiling just the way I remembered. I also learned the source of his joy. Kameel is a Catholic believer from Nazareth, eager to share God's love with everyone he meets.
When we have the privilege of meeting someone who has "found their calling" in life it's a beautiful thing. In that moment we get a glimpse of God's creative and redeeming power at work in our midst. Kameel's passion rekindled my own passion to serve God wholeheartedly in my own corner of the world. Whether restaurant or classroom, office or farm, retail outlet or machine shop, when we're doing what we were born to do, and doing it well, He gets the glory.
"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:17)