We, like many of you I suspect, had abundance for Thanksgiving weekend. Crawfish etouffee’ (one of Janet’s cousins works at Pappadeaux), grilled Brussel sprouts with garlic and bacon to the traditional turkey, ham, dressing, and pies… tens of thousands of pies. Okay, perhaps I exaggerated the pies. The point is that we had lots of food, an extravagant amount of food. Janet’s family was represented with an aunt from both her father and mother’s side of the family. Cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and whoever they want to invite. So, we had people from differing places with differing backgrounds. Crystal, a young Hispanic guest, treated us all to green chili and homemade tortillas on Friday that was the best I’ve ever had. Janet made me strawberry pies, did I mention pie?
As much as I enjoy the meal, I always feel a bit guilty about it. The 20-some people who shared the meal, could have eaten three meals with the amount of food that was prepared. We each go, trying to think of what unique or special thing we can prepare, focused on color, flavor, ethnicity, or some other form of extravagance. It isn’t about eating for health or nutrition, it is about celebration of family and frankly, abundance.
We aren’t unique in this way. In the majority of homes in this country that style of event is duplicated at dinner table after dinner table.
Tom and I spoke recently about some of our responsibilities. One of the things that Scripture impresses on us is that evangelists were directed to, “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” 1 Timothy 6:17
When we read it, the thought always comes… we aren’t really rich. We don’t want to think that we might fall under this classification, with its clear warning. But indications of arrogance can rear their heads in the ways we reason about those who have less than we have. We mention their “horrible work ethic”, their “laziness”, their “working the system”, and their “welfare” as though we would not ever be in such a position. Their poverty is their “own fault” and a bit of hard work and dedication would somehow make them just like us.
Yikes, I don’t like that. Economies crashed during the depression and hard workers loaded on old trucks and limped across the country looking for work. Economies have crashed in certain regions of our country, or in certain industries and those who were never poor experience poverty now. Uncertainty of riches… that was what he mentioned.
Enjoy it, he gives that permission… but only with an awareness of who we really depend on. Never think you might not be fooled.