“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred” (Proverbs 15:17).
This proverb, contrasting two meals, bases the pleasantness of the meal on the heart of the participants and not the food. A simple salad or a pot of vegetables can be a feast if love unites the the souls of those at the table. But if there is hatred or strife present, even succulent filet mignon disappoints.
This week, families will gather together for the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Unfortunately, many will have meals mingled with strife and tension. The conversation among relatives will be negative, critical and sarcastic; while others will remain sullenly silent in quiet rage. Such behavior becomes a habit; strife becomes a family tradition and they do not even know their error. The time and expense of the Thanksgiving meal will be spoiled by strife (cf. Proverbs 17:1). At the end of it all everyone is just thankful that it’s over. These things should not be among Christian families, but sadly they are.
So this year, heed the Wiseman, prepare a memorable Thanksgiving meal for yourself and those you love. Foster peace, harmony, unity, and love one for another – no matter what you eat. The result will be a balm to each soul present and a joyful pleasure to every heart. With love as the centerpiece of your gathering, it won’t even matter if the turkey is dry.
A few questions to consider:
1) Recall a time when you had a meal mingled with bitterness, hatred, contention, or resentment. Describe the tenseness and the stress. How did these bad attitudes ruin what should have been a pleasant event?
2) Think of a time when you had a wonderful meal with just a few simple things, because you loved the person(s) you were with, and they loved you. Describe the love and companionship. How did these good attitudes contribute to the happiness of the simple meal?
3) With holiday gatherings approaching, examine yourself. Have you offended others? Have they offended you? If so, are you harboring bitterness in your heart toward them? What will you do today to correct and/or perfect relationships in your home or within your extended family so that meals together are pleasant, soul strengthening experiences?