The Power of an Invitation
Sharing food just does something, not only for our bodies but for our souls and our spirits. It is vital to our well being. When you bring a meal or a dessert to someone, it shows you took time to think and prepare something you thought they might enjoy. You may never know what a blessing it is to them.
I am currently reading the book Savor by Shauna Niequiest. It is a 365 day reading on living abundantly. Day 15 was titled What we Love. She quotes..."I love the table. I love food, what it means, what it does, and how it feels in my hands". I can relate to that. She also mentioned a radio talk show called The Splendid Table....don't you just love that name? I headed right over to check it out. I'm not used to just listening to a talk show, but I stumbled upon one called The Power of Invitation, and it spoke to me.
The interview was with Bill Golderer who is a pastor and the founder of Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia, PA. One of the things his group organizes are Dinner Parties, in which they go around the city and personally hand out invitations to business people, etc, but also homeless, at risk and hungry. All kinds of people, for all kinds of reason. They each receive a hand written invitation. The article, here, is powerful.
We used to regularly have people over to our home, but in the last few years, my husband started a new job that isn't as flexible and he would often get home late and didn't really feel much like socializing. So our invitations dwindled. I remember when we were youth pastors, our home was always filled with young people. I mean, always. And we loved it. So did our girls and seeing that hospitality flowing over into their lives now even though it happened mostly when they were younger is so encouraging. They remember!
We find that now we have to be a bit more intentional, sometimes planning a few months out, though now and then spontaneity wins out. Oh, and I can be found regularly bringing the girls at the coffee shop (my girls are baristas at the same place) goodies I've baked, or bringing my oldest something yummy because she didn't pack enough food....lol.
As I listened to the episode I mentioned above, a few thing he shared touched a cord:
1. How generous or withholding am I in my own practice of extending or receiving an invitation?
WOW! Let that sink in. Are we generous in extending invitations? Or do we withhold invitations? What are our motives? Do we only invite those who are like us? When we are given an invitation do we generously accept, or are we always withholding ourselves from it for one reason or another?
My mother in law is beautiful at extending invitations to so many people. If someone doesn't have a place to go for a holiday, she invites them. She is generous. I will say we have practiced this quite often ourselves.
2) Transformation happens when an invitation is extended and/or received!
Another WOW! We don't know the transformational power our invitation can have or even our being receptive of an invitation. Transformational in our life and theirs.
It's about making others feel included and invited. It says, you matter, your life matters, I want to know you better. I want to help meet a need.
My family has become used to the fact that there will probably always be more than "family" at every holiday meal, and quite often other meals. There have been times when we had a birthday dinner planned and one of the girls might say "hey, is it okay if so and so comes for dinner".
It doesn't matter what it is to or for...an invitation is powerful!
Do we make space in our lives to extend or receive an invitation?
With different people? With people who aren't in our circle? People who might have differing views? Do we stop making excuses and just do it! Do we forgo that "busy" thing to go have lunch or coffee with a friend?
What about just an invitation into conversation? Maybe at work or in the store, or on the phone or even email or Facebook?
Some good food for thought, don't you think?
Now I'm going to go stir my veggie quinoa chili that is in the crockpot because we extended an invitation to dinner with some friends we haven't hung out with in a very long time. I'm looking forward to it.
With Joy Unquenchable,