Cultivating Hospitality - Breaking Bread


Food and fellowship are natural partners. A shared snack or meal is a great way to extend hospitality, but too often our focus moves from our guests to worry about the food and its presentation. How much is enough? How will I decorate?


In Matthew’s account of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand (Matthew 14), the exchange between Jesus and the disciples always brings a smile to my face. The disciples ask Jesus to send the crowd away so that they can buy their own food. Jesus being the ultimate host responds, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.” The disciples then look among themselves at what they have. They report back that they have five loaves and two fish. After asking the crowd to sit Jesus takes, blesses, breaks, and gives what is present and all ate their fill with food left over.


This reminds me of a time that I experienced this miracle of hospitality. A new friend invited me for coffee with the intention of making muffins. As often happens, life got in the way and the muffins never made it into the oven. Instead of panicking, my friend surveyed the pantry and pulled out vanilla wafers and chocolate covered pretzels. These snacks, that every mom can appreciate, were a feast combined with a cup of hot coffee. I felt just as welcome and just as special. Our time together was not about muffins or vanilla wafers, it was about fellowship and deepening friendship.


The lesson learned by the disciples on that Galilean hillside was reinforced that day, to see what is present and to take, bless, break, and give. For me, this may be as simple as a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint in a glass of tea or water. It may be fruit, cheese, and/or nuts. I might even get as fancy as the disciples and serve tuna fish sandwiches!


Points to Ponder:

1. What makes a meal guest worthy?


2. Just like the disciples and my friend, take inventory of what you have on hand that you can take, bless, break, and give.

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