Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Visit to the Winery

Over spring break, Ryan and I planned to eat lunch at a winery on the Alabama trail. We intended to have a nice lunch in their restaurant, take a tour, and get pictures for my upcoming book. Somehow, we had been busy getting ready to leave that morning and had completely forgotten breakfast. Once we were settled in the car, though, we realized we were hungry. Ryan pulled out a box of breakfast bars and solved the hunger issue for a bit, but by lunchtime, we were hungry again. 

As we drove up the long drive, Ryan said, "I thought this was a winery.  Where are the grape vines?" We found a few.  Very few.  It should have been a warning.  When we arrived at the winery, we were quickly seated, but service was slow. Well, actually, it was nonexistent. No waiter ever came. No one took our order. No one offered water. After nearly thirty minutes of trying to catch the attention of a waiter, we gave up and left. The gourmet meal we had anticipated was replaced by much simpler fare.

As we ate our not-gourmet lunch, we talked about the supposed winery. They had done a great job with their initial public relations.  They have a place on the Alabama Wine Trail and are listed in numerous websites.  Their own website is lovely and very convincing.  They had taken great care with all the outward trappings of being a winery and the frills that went with it, but they had failed at what mattered.  They had few grapevines, they were importing California grapes to make up for their lack, and they had completely failed at any semblance of customer service at their restaurant.

Several days later, I'm still surprised by the poor service. The building looked well maintained and was very attractive. Judging by outward appearances, we expected a terrific meal. That's the problem with outward appearances, though. They can't always be trusted, and it's an all-too-common problem these days, isn't it?

It is always more important to BE good than to LOOK good, but sometimes we get that a little backwards.  It's much easier to worry about the looking than the being, but it always makes problems for us.  That was the problem Samuel encountered when he was sent to Jesse's house to anoint a king. He saw all the older brothers and thought any one of them looked like a king.  God, however, wasn't going on outward looks.  When David finally arrived, God said, "This is the one."Samuel was pretty surprised.  God explained, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (NKJV)  Samuel found that he had to look past the "looking good" to find the one who was "being good".  That's the best way to find a king, but it's a pretty good rule of thumb for us, as well. Remember, BE good, then worry about LOOKING good.