January 8, 2014
When the Dog Eats Your Company's Dinner
"If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11b (NIV)
I prayed weeks for this dinner. The couple we invited needed Jesus. I wanted to roll out the red carpet and treat them like royalty; God knew they needed a big dose of His love.
But time got away from me—cleaning the house, making the dessert and all. I still had to run to the store to get the filet mignons. I know they're expensive, but I wasn't going to spare any cost for my guests—it would be a feast!
I sat the grocery bags inside the front door and headed back out to light the fire in the grill. Our company would be there in less than half an hour! I ran back inside and reached for the steaks, only to pull out an empty package. Puzzled, I pulled out the other packages, all empty. What in the world??
About that time my dog walked around the corner with his head cowered. He wouldn't look at me but took off to hide behind the couch. I followed him and didn't find a trace of a steak—just one shamefaced dog. He had done this kind of thing before, eaten entire pizzas, cakes, and whole plates of fried chicken without a crumb left. Yep, "guilty" was written all over his face.
As I stood there shaking my head, I heard knocking at my front door. Our guests were early! Thankfully I remembered a chicken and dumpling casserole in the freezer. I turned the oven on and popped it in, then excused myself to the restroom, closed the door and prayed, remembering the words of 1 Peter 4:11b, "If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen" (NIV).
"Jesus, help me. Help me get over my own expectations of what tonight would look like. I've asked You for weeks to lavish this couple with Your love. You don't need steaks to do that. Come and fill this place with Your presence. Give me Your ability to love and serve. Help me love like You do. Give me words to speak and Your strength to do it. I give this night to You. May it glorify You. Thank You Jesus."
As I walked back to join my visitors, I realized once again hospitality isn't about the perfect meal, beautiful decorations, a clean house, or our hostess skills—it's about loving people the way Jesus loves them—wholeheartedly. When people feel loved, they don't care what you feed them or what your house looks like.
That night turned out to be absolutely wonderful. Not because the chicken and dumplings tasted good. Or because my living room was tidy. But because God's love is powerful.
When we take our eyes off of ourselves and focus on loving our guests, it takes the stress out of entertaining. Even when we feel inadequate, Jesus gives us His ability to love others when we ask Him. It's not about our efforts; it's about Him.
Dear Lord, help me to invite others to my house. Keep my heart focused on loving people and not on my home or my cooking skills. Use me for Your glory. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Sharon Glasgow's blog for more on hospitality and her chicken and dumpling casserole recipe.
Pre-order your copy of Everyday Confetti that releases January 21! In this go-to guide, Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer provide creative ideas and menu plans for holidays, birthdays, special events, and everyday occasions, as well as suggestions for reaching out to others. Pre-order your copy through Proverbs 31 Ministries and get an extra bonus of a "Getting Organized in the New Year" PDF.
Reflect and Respond:
What hinders you from inviting guests to your home?
How can you show love to someone this week through your home or homemaking talents?
2 Corinthians 12:9a, "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness...'" (NIV)
© 2014 by Sharon Glasgow. All rights reserved.
Originally published Wednesday, 08 January 2014.