Captain Chuck-A-Muck’s!  Now, that’s a great little seafood place!  It is located in the small town of Rescue, Virginia, and sits right on Jones Creek which flows into the James River.  You can drive to Chuck-A-Muck’s or travel by boat and tie up at the dock.   The menu is cleverly written; a sail covers the outdoor dining area; the restroom doors don’t have locks, but can be “tied off” with a rope to secure them.  Last Saturday night, my family and I ate there with our dear friends Bob and Allene Stoddert whom we have known for 22 years.  Bob and Allene live in nearby Smithfield, and we were blessed to spend last week in their home, enjoying sweet fellowship, visiting historical sites in the area, and spending some time at the beach.

The seafood at Captain Chuck-A-Muck’s was great, and the company was even better; but there was something else that added an unexpected blessing to our dining experience.  On each table was a Prayer Menu, the front of which bore an ichthus symbol.  The inside front cover of the Prayer Menu read as follows:

“At Chuck-A-Muck’s, we love all saints and sinners.  We are Baptist Christians and therefore like to bless our food before we eat.  Sometimes we forget to say our blessings when we go out to eat, or maybe sometimes people feel uncomfortable about it.  This little menu is just a reminder to give thanks, with a couple of different suggestions from our pastor.  If you are not a Christian, please do not take offense to this…we just feel that we have a lot to be thankful for in this great country, which is founded on these principles.”

On the opposite page there is a “menu” of seven prayer suggestions that patrons can use in giving thanks before their meal, including two specifically for children.  One of the general prayers reads:

“Lord, we pause for just a moment to thank you for all you do for us.  This meal is just a small indication of your love, and for it and much more we are grateful.  Mostly we thank you for sending Jesus to be our Savior.  May we always serve you faithfully.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.” 

In recent months, I have read interesting discussions on at least two blogs (thanks, Tim Archer and Bobby Ross!) about varying comfort levels and personal habits among Christians in offering thanks to God for meals when dining out. I really appreciated their insights and enjoyed reading the comments of others.  However, last Saturday at Captain Chuck-A-Muck’s was my first experience at an eating establishment that encouraged, facilitated, and intentionally created an “atmosphere of expectation” for the giving of thanks for our daily bread.  How amazingly refreshing!

Kudos to owners Chuck and Cris Lawrence for the openness of their faith and to their preacher, Jimmy Acree, for assisting them with the Prayer Menu.  We were going to pray anyway (and did), but our thanksgiving was made more memorable and special by the encouragement of the Prayer Menu.