I’ve been attending (sometimes enduring) church meetings for over 40 years. From the times when Mom dragged me, to the times when I’ve loved them, to the times when I drag myself. Having experienced just about every type of church meeting invented, there’s one I consistently, hands down like the best… the pot luck dinner.
A pot luck dinner is an event where each person brings a dish – anything they want – and everybody eats a meal from whatever shows up. It’s pretty much that simple.
If you go to enough pot luck dinners, you see a lot of interesting things. I remember Jeanette, who always brought Caesar Salad… the best I’ve ever had. There was Linda, known for a special chocolate pie; and Tony, who loved it and waited with anticipation to see if Linda and her pie would be there. People prepare elaborate main dishes all day, or make a last minute stop at the store for paper cups or bottles of soda. Somebody might just bring hot sauce.
Nonetheless, I’ve never been to a bad pot luck dinner. You get to try people’s unique recipes. These are often influenced by factors such as who their parents and grandparents were, or where they grew up. My wife, for example, puts apples in her potato salad. She’s from the apple country of Washington state. And I’ve never left a pot luck dinner hungry.
I wonder if the Christian community could be like a pot luck dinner. I’m not talking about food, but about people coming together to share whatever they have… a listening ear, encouraging words, a smile; or difficulties and hardships. Some people are gifted in unique ways to lift up others, (like Jeanette’s gift for Caesar Salad.) Others have needs and yearn desperately for something to lift them up, (like Tony peering out the window hoping his favorite dessert would arrive.)
We’ve all been influenced by our backgrounds, and we’re all “coming from” different places. These factors affect what we bring to the party and make our interaction glorious. There’s always someone who adds spice – hot sauce – to the group. And even the smallest contributions are important… ever been to a pot luck where nobody brought paper cups? Such get-togethers are never dull or boring, by the way, because they’re never the same. You get a different mix on your plate every time.
I want my life to be one big, continuous, relationship pot luck dinner. I benefit tremendously when that happens, and hopefully I contribute as well. Everyone involved rarely goes unfulfilled. Pot lucks, with or without food. They’re my favorite kind of meeting.