I was challenged and inspired one afternoon when my 10 year old son said to me, “ Mom did you know people used to get dressed up for dinner?” I responded, “Yes, they did! "A meal around the table was an event." "People took time to engage and really taste the food that filled them."
That conversation followed another I had with a woman after Sunday morning service. I complimented her on how pretty she looked and she replied" I have renewed my commitment to get dressed for an encounter with my Father." Wow!
All these dressing up conversations. I started sensing a theme!
Intrigued, I pondered the conversations and wondered, "Was God trying to tell me something?" There was definitely something brewing in the seduction to prepare, indulge and engage.
The lure for that kind of preparation and focus awed me.
After some contemplation and walks down memory lane, I became convinced. Everyday activities can totally be special! Dare I suggest that maybe God created ordinary chores stuck on repeat; for several chances at getting it right! Doing it bigger and better every time.
Consider, the children of Israel in the wilderness. Not at all a normal place for a dinner party with a surprise menu. Yet, that's exactly what God did; a complete surprise every morning!
The question,“What is it?” filled their hearts. Gripped with anticipation and wonder they looked forward to God's daily surprise.
After being lead out of slavery from Egypt.They were hungry with no means of getting food. But God!
He supernaturally rained mana from heaven. Mana was an edible substance they ate for forty years. The name mana has been interpreted as "what is it?"
Every morning they woke to find fresh mana laying on the ground.
God gave them clear guide lines NOT to store it up; but to indulge in all they needed and wanted, in the moment!
There was an exception clause however, only the day prior to the sabbath could they gather an abundance In preparation for their sabbath rest.
They learned to trust daily and seek Him attentively.
They learned to "watch for the morning." As it says in Pslam 130:6
Much like my sister preparing to meet with God.
The definition of watch: is to look at or observe attentively over a period of time. The second: is to exercise care, caution, or restraint about.
In both instances attentive care was applied for a foreseen encounter.
Traditionally families dressed for dinner to show self respect, ascribe honor to those they dined with and honor for the occasion.
They too prepared. No matter how regular the chore of eating was, "Unpredictable" wonder was always on the menu.
Old customs and traditions have died hard as it's only been in recent years that average restaurants abandoned strict dress codes. Some still maintain them.
With families staying home as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, many have returned to having dinner as family at the table. Studies suggest dinner parties are on the rise as well.
Families are spicing up daily chores with pizazz and fun.
What's to be learned from a "mana" like gift? So precious that spoiled when stored, worm infested when hoarded and completely unpredictable? Think about that for a minute! Those were the circumstances. Any attempt to accumulate manna ended in spoil and was destroyed by worms. Manna was not to be preserved but enjoyed!
With so many implications I'll share a few that resonate with me!
God, absolute creativity and Lord of the universe, goes out of His way to step into everyday, mundane life. Seemingly to simply stir up anticipation, reveal wonder and deliver the exceptional! Girl, come on!
Perhaps this depiction of how God rolls is an attribute of His nature we sorely misunderstood. He’s fun, He tantalizes! Even in wilderness places! He’s exciting and “Extra!” Never leaving any occasion to ordinary measures.
It has me thinking that mundane comes from our own lack of ability to be creative in the customary? Our enthusiasm for life is squelched by our limited capacity to gaze in wonder and take everyday chores and make them memorable.
How much more enjoyable would life be if we lived inside every moment like it was all we had? Can't store it, can't reproduce it. You, must simply fully engage and take it all in; in the moment!
Would you saver the flavor of pie a little longer, breathe in the smell of that roast a little deeper? Would you hold on in that hug a little longer?
Would you engage further in worship or appreciate His presence fuller?
Eating with loved ones and celebrating was one of Jesus' common practices. He regularly took time to lean back, engage and focus. On people, on life and His mission.
Most of us are not working with wilderness homes nor dirt floors as plates. Quite the contrary!
We have magnificent dining rooms, often times never used. We hoard a few life celebrations as if they are our only occasions to dress up or call on friends.
We have very reason to stir things up in the kitchen?
I, for one have been inspired to pull out the cloth napkins. I’ll admit, I've always used them because I hate paper. But these days, I’m careful to match and partnered them with a table setting. I’ve pulled out chargers and had a few cups of coffee in my good china. Right on my deck! As we speak, I’m planning my first real dinner party ever.
So here's the invitation! Get out of the box or rut! Maybe it's time you set your dinner table, picnic table, camping table or even tv tray. Tap into the creative mind of Christ and dream.
I dare you to doll up dinner and see how many, “What is it” moments you can elicit by dropping wonder in meal time. Doll up dinner and see if you laugh a little more. Dress up for dinner and enlist good conversation.
If you're real ambitious, grab some white gloves and a hat for the occasion. Who knows what you'll stir up? Maybe a new tradition will emerge.
Take a look at this scripture: “7 So go eat your food and enjoy it; drink your wine and be happy, because that is what God wants you to do. 8 Put on nice clothes and make yourself look good. 9 Enjoy life with the wife you love.” Ecclesiastes 9:7-9
Join the doll up dinner challenge. Do it in your own way. Post pics or drop a comment. Just share how you took that daily chore and turned it into unpredictable wonder. GO......
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