Cheeseburgers ... and Other Tender Mercies

It was a chance meeting in a church hallway.

Months since they had seen each other. “Nice to see you again. How are things?” Pleasantries were exchanged. And then the conversation got serious.

They both had known him. A devoted husband and father of three little children. Taken too soon from the unrelenting jaws of cancer. A heartbreak for all who knew.

There was a funeral to plan. And a luncheon to follow. His wife was requesting his favorite food be served because he loved them so much.


A tough request. This little church group was short on finances. How would they feed cheeseburgers to 100 people? A reality challenging the desire to honor a tender suggestion. The hallway conversation concluded in empathy. And hope.

The old cowboy climbed into his truck to head back to his ranch.

He quietly pondered. His heart soft and open. Considered the situation. Recognizing his own place in it.

Walked into his house and down the stairs to the basement. Pulled open the freezer door and counted. Shelves filled with frozen packages of hamburger. Beef from cattle raised on his ranch. He had enough.

The old cowboy considered the trail of tender mercies.

The chance meeting. A conversation leading to a luncheon. A church leader sharing a concern with the only person in the area who has cows. God's hand was clearly in this. Only He could pull it all together. The old cowboy felt a familiar tug on his heart.

How often do we see it? Feel it? Tender mercies. Sometimes we are on the receiving end. Confirming that He is aware. A moment which propels us forward ... even when life seems impossible.

And on the other side of things ... we may be called on His errand.  Prompted to take action and make a difference. We are His hands. Are we in a spiritual position to receive the message?

The old cowboy picked up the phone.

“I’m going to cover the 100 cheeseburgers. I want to take care of this little family ... the only way I know how."

The old cowboy wants to serve. His broken down body doesn’t allow him to shovel snow. Or help someone move. Or rake leaves in a cleanup.

Breaking horses, moving cattle and bucking hay have taken a toll. Shoulders are worn out. And arthritic fingers don’t work so good.

The old cowboy has also been on the receiving end of service. Three years now of pain from shingles. They still shoot rays of pain behind his eye. In earlier days when the pain overtook him, dozens of friends came to his aid. Took over the chores. And he’s never forgotten.

And so the old cowboy prays to recognize.

Quiet opportunities to help others. Willing to attend to whatever the need. He trusts that God will show him.

He hangs up the phone. Humble tears are shed. Thanks to his God for this blessing.

Tender mercies realized.

A grieving family remembers a favorite dish. A leader is supported. And a cowboy’s prayers are answered.

In 100 cheeseburgers.