Hiram Jimenez went to an Applebee’s restaurant, ordered fajitas and when his food arrived he bowed his head to pray.  Normally, praying for a meal would be a good idea – but not this time.  Fajitas are served on a hot metal platter fitted into a wooden tray.  Fajitas arrive at the table steaming, popping and smelling wonderful.  Hiram bowed his head to pray over his lunch and received a few of those pops on his neck and cheeks.  Normally, I would feel kind of sorry for Hiram because I remember protecting my children in Mexican food restaurants from those steaming platters.  But, there are some news stories that cause me to bow my head and apologize to God for one of my fellow Christians.

Mr. Jimenez decided to sue the Applebee’s restaurant because the waitress did not warn him about the “fajita danger”.  He believed it was the waitress’ responsibility to explain to him that bowing his face over the steaming, popping fajita tray wasn’t a good idea.  Hiram will not be allowed to continue with his lawsuit.  The appellate court issued a ruling saying that Hiram could not sue for damages because the danger was “open and obvious.”   The court said that the danger of the hot platter, was “self-evident.”  I have enjoyed eating fajitas on many occasions and I would have to agree with the appellate court.  

The Christian Post reached out to Richard Wiener of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, an attorney for Jimenez, on Friday but there has been no response.  I think Hiram Jimenez might want to bow his head to pray, at least once more.  I’m pretty sure our Lord would have a “response” for him concerning the lawsuit.  God’s response might be similar to Ephesians 4:31-32: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

If Mr. Jimenez wanted to sue Applebee’s hoping to make some quick money, God might remind him of Paul’s words to Timothy:  “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:10).

I think God would remind all who pray that our witness is far more important than any vindication or reward that the world might provide.  Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 ).  I wish Hiram had been reaching for a napkin on the floor or a saltshaker when he was splattered.  I wish he had been doing almost anything besides praying.  I hate to see a story that notes prayer as the cause for a lawsuit.

When I read this story I couldn’t help but feel badly for God’s Kingdom purpose.  The Easter season is about all that Jesus endured in order to provide our eternal salvation.  God loved us so much, he gave us his most precious and valuable gift, Jesus (John 3:16).  Jesus bled and died to make it possible for our sins to be paid for, once and for all.  There is no way to repay the Lord for all he has done, but we can do what he has asked.  He said, “You will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).  

A lot of people make sacrifices during the Lenten season in an effort to make the season holy and to prepare for Easter worship.  I believe the greatest commitment we can make to Christ is the gift of our lives, in service to him.  Jesus wants us to guard our witness and use it for God’s glory.  There is nothing you can give up that is more important than what you can give.  We can give God control of our lives and ask him to be glorified through our witness.

When I read the story of Hiram Jimenez and his Applebee’s prayer and I felt sad for Jesus.  A person shouldn’t blame someone else when he bows his head over a steaming, smoking, splattering platter of fajitas and gets burned.  He wanted the restaurant to pay, but I’m afraid Jesus paid the price instead.  Jesus didn’t deserve any blame, but he willingly paid what he never owed.  How can we spend the rest of our Lenten season giving glory and gratitude to God for our greatest gift?  Pray about that…unless you are reading this while eating a plate of fajitas!

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