Did You Bring Your Appetite?

Nope, not vegetables! Little Alice taking over my ice-cream cone. A little appetite with lots of love. 


Proverbs 15:17 Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is
than a fatted ox and hatred with it.


The guests are invited to dinner but the host is concerned that there is little to offer. Without the financial resources of the wealthy, they are unable to kill a fatted ox and can only serve vegetables. While some may be discouraged by this, wisdom tells us that the satisfaction depends upon the appetite of the guest. If the guests who are invited are hungry, then even a small meal will be enjoyed and received with gratitude. They will experience the love of the host who was willing to share all he had with his guests.  


I was born in Germany where my parents served as missionaries. It seems that our financial resources were often limited, and yet, there was an endless supply of guests at our table. Not only did we have our dear German friends gathering with us at the table, but also many visitors from other countries who would stop by, wanting to see “the mission.” We always found this a bit humorous as we were simply a family living in an urban setting, planting a church. That, however, did not stop the visitors. 

My mother has always been a creative cook and recently, while watching the television show “Chopped,” I realized that she would have known how to make something out of a crazy concoction of items. She was a master at making a meal out of a nearly-empty refrigerator. 

One night, while we were living in Germany, some out of town guests called at the last minute and said they were coming over. My mother wasn’t sure what to do because she didn’t have much for supper. She had made a pot of soup which would feed her family of six, but now it needed to be stretched for guests. Pulling out her coin purse, she found enough pfennigs to send one of the older boys to the store to buy some breadsticks. Then, she added more water to the soup and got out one of her nicest tablecloths. She set the dining room table with her nice china and when the breadsticks arrived, placed them in attractive containers at either end of the table. When the guests arrived they were welcomed into our home and to the table. They enjoyed a dinner of watered down soup and breadsticks, but also the love of the family. When they left that night they remarked on the fabulous dinner that they had enjoyed. It was a dinner of vegetables, but love was present, and they were satisfied.

There’s a lot of shopping for churches these days and people looking for the biggest and the best, the most fatted ox of a church that they can find. It may make those smaller churches, those that are serving vegetables feel that they simply cannot compete. The reality is that they can’t compete, if that’s the plan, but they can offer loving food to those who are hungry. There are plenty of people in this world who are so starved that they will be thrilled with a small church, offering a limited menu, if it’s served with love. 

For the rest of us, what we get out of church depends a great deal on our appetite. My spiritual appetite depends on whether or not I’ve been spending time in God’s presence. If I have, it doesn’t matter where I worship on a Sunday because I can’t wait to worship God with other people. It seems the more I spend time with the Lord, the hungrier I am and every morsel that I receive fills me with God’s love. 

When we bring our appetites, we discover that the love of God is more important than the fatted ox. We don’t need the stuff, we need Jesus! 


Lord, may my hunger for you grow daily.  Amen. 


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