OCTOBER 13, 2014
My Magnetic Kitchen Island
"Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased." Hebrews 13:15-16 (NIV)
My kitchen island is a hoppin' place. Some days it's littered with stray school papers, bills needing to be paid and coupons for a local pizza joint. Other days it's laden with sacks of groceries from the local supermarket waiting to be put away.
Papers, cans and cartons aren't the only constant callers. My island is also a people magnet. Family members often gather here, usually for a quick bite to eat before heading to or returning from school or work.
But perhaps the greatest magnetic pull occurs during times of celebration. Formal holidays as well as random, spur-of-the-moment, informal gatherings.
At Christmas and Easter, it pulls double duty as a buffet bar, showcasing the cuisine extended family brings for our celebrations: Uncle Kevin's barbecued meatballs, Grandma Margaret's fancified veggie tray, Aunt Loriane's melt-in-your-mouth fudge.
But it's the informal gatherings I have come to treasure most. The times when my children's friends pull up a stool and inquire, "Mama Karen, whatcha got that's good to eat?" The everyday moments we celebrate around my kitchen island: A completed English paper ... a chemistry concept finally understood ... the arrival of wrestling season ... braces coming off.
I think we sometimes make our faith so complicated. Yes, there are deep theological truths we should seek to understand, but there are also many simple commands tucked in the pages of Scripture. Today's key verse is a great example: "Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased."
I see three simple ways to love others in this verse:
1. Praise God by professing His name with our lips.
2. Do good.
3. Share with others.
And what is the result from us performing these straightforward actions? It pleases God.
As loved ones, friends, and even strangers gather at my magnetic kitchen island, this verse remains ever on my mind, along with its three directives.
I look for natural — not forced or contrived — opportunities to speak of God and His goodness.
I try to do good: Assist a teenager with his homework. Fix a broken strap on another's backpack. Help a 20-something young woman sort out a difficult relationship.
And I share. Our home. Our food — no matter how humble and un-gourmet. Our dishes (that sometimes get chipped or broken). My time. My heart. My faith.
I smile when I think of how such small "sacrifices" done in Jesus' Name please God. And while cooking, cleaning and exposing your dishes to potential damage might seem like inconveniences at first — yes, even sacrifices — they not only please God, but can bring us pleasure as well.
Opening our lives to sacrificially celebrate holidays, holy days and even the everyday gives us opportunities to serve. It beckons us to be others-centered. Such serving brings us joy, produces fond memories and creates lasting connections, soul-to-soul. Showing love can be the avenue God uses for someone to begin a relationship with Him and they respond — due in part to our words, deeds and shared possessions.
How might the Holy Spirit be tapping on your heart today, prompting you to speak truth, do good and share life? It might not be gathered around the kitchen island, but your very presence and prayerful attitude can be a magnet that draws other souls to you and points them straight toward Him.
Father, may I pause today to ponder how to speak, act and share in such a way that it draws others closer to You. Give me both ideas and the ability to obey this simple verse. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 37:3, "Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness." (ESV)
Hebrews 13:1-2, "Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it." (NIV)
Want more ideas, tips and recipes for celebrating with those you love at holidays and holy days — even on blessed ordinary days too? Check out Karen Ehman's and Glynnis Whitwer's book Everyday Confetti: Your Year-Round Guide for Celebrating Holidays and Special Occasion.
Karen and Glynnis have prepared 7 Days to Hassle-Free Holiday, a free email series, complete with 25 recipes, to help you get it all done without coming undone. Click here to sign up free.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Has anyone invited you to be a part of his or her life in a way that showed you love and acceptance, while pointing you to God? If you've experienced that, consider thanking that person. If you've not yet had that experience, pray for God to lead someone like that into your life.
Name two or three people whom you might invite over for a meal or simple snack. Why would you choose those particular people? Make plans now to follow through with the invitations.
© 2014 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 13 October 2014.