I pulled a second pan of cookie bars out of the oven. I’d inadvertently signed up for all the things in the same week: basketball team dinner; providing breakfast for the homeless in our community; taking dinner to a new mom and providing snacks for a meeting. Not to mention my own family, who still had the audacity to ask what was for dinner! When it was all said and done, I had fed over 40 people throughout the week!
There are some people who effortlessly prepare food for crowds of people. I am not one of them. Inevitably I choose to make a new recipe I haven’t tried before or I start too late in the day and end up scrambling. And I always seem to run out of at least one crucial ingredient.
At the end of the week, when I gladly ordered pizza for dinner, I wondered if it had been worth all the effort.
YES. The answer is always yes.
Serving cultivates joy—in both the giver and the receiver. It’s virtually impossible to stay stuck when I’m reaching out to others. Watching a team of high school boys devour three meatball subs each made me smile from ear to ear. They didn’t care that I forgot to turn on the crockpot on time and ended up frantically heating them in the oven.
Serving takes the sting out of our suffering. Serving forces us to quit looking at our own sorrows and problems, to see a world of people who are also hurting. After I made breakfast for those currently homeless, I listened to one man’s commitment to his family and his determination to care for them as best he could. My own smaller worries and fears faded into the background as I empathized with him.
This ministry of food gives us a unique opportunity to usher the presence of God into very ordinary cafeteria tables, dining room tables, and meeting tables. When we take the time to provide for someone else, it not only nourishes their hearts, it also nourishes ours.
So let’s pay attention to those around us who could use an extra boost this week. It doesn’t have to be fancy or special, just given with love and in the name of Jesus.