Scarcity or Plenty

When God gave the Israelites manna (Exodus 16), it was daily bread. But the temptation to save some for later, just in case, was strong, and some did stash a little away, in vain.

If we don’t trust that we have enough, we will keep scrambling. We can’t enjoy what is in front of us because we are concerned for tomorrow. Our confidence, or lack of confidence, controls our actions and our attitudes. When, with childlike faith, we trust God’s provision, we can eat with pure gratitude. When we feel the weight of provision on our shoulders, we will worry and work on our own Plan B.

Have you ever invited guests for dinner and then worried and stressed about the menu and the quantity of food? What if it doesn’t come out perfectly? What if it isn’t more than enough? What if no one likes what is served? By the time you open the door and welcome anyone in, you are a distracted, disturbed mess.

Well, here’s the deal: No one will starveLet’s start there. Our homes are filled with food. This is not a starving-child-on-your-doorstep situation. No one sitting at the table is unable to eat as needed. With that said, every single dish eaten is a bonus!

Furthermore, the feast is the fellowship. We could fast together in relative comfort and great relational joy. Don’t let that get lost in the recipe details. Sharing the table is primarily about the people, not the presentation.

So plan your menu and work the plan. Use your hostess skills wisely. Take what you have and share it graciously, knowing that all you have is a gift from God to be thankfully enjoyed in every moment. And whether you burn the broccoli or perfectly bake the brownies, remember that God’s provision for His children is more than enough for each and every day.

Good Ideas: Hospitality Journal

Do you enjoy pulling together beautiful meals and serving delicious food to friends and family? Would you like to get a little bit better at exercising hospitality?

At a recent conference on hospitality, one of the speakers shared her way of remembering those she fed and what she served. She keeps a journal noting who came to a meal, what the menu was, any special needs, and whether the food was a hit or a bust. It’s a great way to remember all the joys of hospitality past, but it’s also an excellent tool to know who likes what (and who needs to avoid what).

One way that we show love to each other is by noticing and remembering likes and dislikes. If you know your friend doesn’t like pizza at all, you won’t keep suggesting the local pizza place for lunch. You wouldn’t want to bring chicken noodle soup to a sick vegan friend, would you? Better to nix the peanut butter cookies for the family with a nut allergy. These things matter, and any effort we make to consider them for others is part of loving our neighbor.

A simple notebook (or spreadsheet, if you prefer) will allow you to track guests, menus, and preferences. It doesn’t need to be elaborate, just your notes.

Further benefit
If you are getting to know new friends, notes on the conversation will help you connect details with names and faces as you go along. You will more easily remember that John and Jody were the couple that lived in Iceland for a year, for instance. You are collecting memories as you go.