The Lunch Invitation

Nancy looked at the lunch invitation with delight. Meals at her friends’ house were always an adventure. They liked to experiment with their recipes, often finding creative ways to tweak the ingredients to make the dishes unique and unforgettable. This meal, scheduled for the following week, should be no exception.

Each day she tried to imagine what they would be serving.  Probably nothing as ordinary as spaghetti or grilled cheese, unless they added some fun ingredients, of course. Maybe something with lobster, she thought, mentally licking her lips.

Finally the day came and she drove to her friends’ house with great anticipation

“Come on in! I’m so glad you’re here!” Susan exclaimed as she held the door open for Nancy.

“Thank you for the invite,” Nancy replied. “I love your cooking!”

They walked down the hall towards the kitchen. “Bob is finishing the salad right now. We kind of burned the main dish so we added some extra ingredients to make the salad larger. I hope you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. Salad actually sounds good.” Nancy knew whatever they served would be amazing.

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The large salad in the center of the kitchen table did look amazing. So full of greens with lots of colorful veggies, eggs, and cheeses mixed in.

Bob held the salad fork and motioned to the salad. “We weren’t expecting to have to make such a big salad and didn’t have enough greens so I added some lettuce leaves from our backyard garden. It’s the first time we’ve ever grown lettuce and I’m so excited that they were ready to use today.”

Nancy glanced out the window to the back yard, then stared with horror. A dog was peeing on the bed of lettuce. Was this the same bed that Bob got his lettuce for the salad? It had to be.

“Umm…” she began. “Your dog is… umm… peeing on your lettuce.”

“Oh, that’s OK,” Bob said. “He does that all the time. It doesn’t hurt the lettuce.”

Nancy looked at the salad. Was some of that peed on lettuce part of this salad?

Susan saw her look and said, “Don’t worry. I’m sure Bob rinsed the lettuce before adding it to the salad.”

“Of course,” Bob agreed. “I always do.”

Nancy thought of the quick rinse she usually did to her own vegetables. Surely he did better than that.

“Besides,” Susan went on, “even if he happened to use a lettuce leaf that had gotten peed on, it’s such a little part of this salad that you won’t even notice.”

Somehow, Nancy had lost her appetite and began wondering what excuse she could make to get out of there without eating.

Later, much later, she thought… is this like us and sin? We think we do so many wonderful things that a little sin here or there doesn’t really matter. But is that how God sees sin? That it’s OK to accept small sins as long as we basically try to do the right things? Would that be like Susan and Bob accepting that salad since it was basically all good ingredients? A little contamination wouldn’t be noticed?

No, God was pure holiness. There was no darkness in Him at all. So all sin, no matter how small, must be as despicable to Him as the possible yellow lettuce had been to her.

Wow! That sure puts sin in a whole new light.

Let the Comforter Comfort

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She sighed with satisfaction as she put down her scissors. Finished! It had taken awhile but the hand quilted comforter was finally finished. And just in time for her friend’s birthday. She imagined how cozy her friend would feel cuddled up in the large softly padded blanket. She didn’t usually make such an elaborate gift for birthdays, but this friend was special, as was this birthday.

She lovingly folded the comforter and tied it with a pretty red ribbon, then placed it carefully in a large gift bag. She couldn’t wait to see her friend’s face when she gave it to her in a few days.

She spent the next few days packing for her move out of state. Each time she passed the bag, sitting on the small table near the front door, new images formed in her mind…

…her friend, sitting on the couch, reading a good book and wrapped in the warmth of the comforter.

…her friend, sleeping peacefully on her bed under the cozy weight of the comforter.

…her friend, sitting in her bathtub seeking safety from a storm and surrounded by the softness of the comforter.

When the day came, she handed the bag to her friend with a huge smile, eager to watch her friend’s surprise and delight.

She wasn’t disappointed.

“Oh, wow! This is amazing!” her friend said, holding it up and admiring it. “I can’t believe you made this for me. It must have taken you forever!”

“It did take a while,” she answered. “But it’s well worth it. I wanted to give you something to treasure to remind you how much I treasure you and our friendship.”

“Aww… thank you. I feel the same way and I will treasure this comforter my whole life.”

Six months later, settled in her new home, she began missing her friend and decided to make a visit. Upon entering her friend’s house, she saw the comforter she had made. It wasn’t on the couch where it could be easily grabbed and used. It wasn’t on the bed waiting to provide warmth in the cool evenings. It was displayed on the wall!

“I love the comforter so much that I didn’t want it to get dirty or damaged so I put it on the wall. It looks great up there, doesn’t it!” her friend told her.

Hiding her disappointment, she smiled and agreed – it did look good up there. But it wasn’t made to be displayed on a wall. It was made to be used! To part of her friend’s everyday life. What good was it up there? How could it provide warmth and comfort from up there? But she knew it wasn’t her right to force her friend to use it the way she had purposed it. It belonged to her friend now and it was her friend’s right to choose what to  do with it.

On the way home, she sought the comfort of her Friend… and made a startling connection.

“Lord,” she prayed. “Thank you for Your gift of the Holy Spirit to be my comforter. Help me to allow Him to be part of my everyday life, to seek Him to comfort me when I’m scared and to warm me when I’m cold. May I never keep Him at a distance, knowing He’s there but not allowing Him to serve the purpose for which You gave Him to me.”

And she drove the rest of the way home wrapped in the cozy embrace of her Comforter.

Don’t Get Too Close to the Fence

“Where are you going, Kevin?” she asked, holding on to his leash and trying not to be pulled by his strong legs. “You need to come back here.”

But Kevin had seen something that caught his attention and he was determined to investigate it.

“Stop, Kevin! Don’t get too close to that fence! It will hurt you!”

But whether he didn’t hear or didn’t understand, he ignored the warning and continued running towards the object of his interest, which happened to be on the other side of the fence.

“Kevin! Stop! You’re too close! Come back!” she yelled, trying desperately to pull back on the leash. But he was too determined and did his best to keep going.

He saw the fence, but he had seen fences before. No big threat. He could get past that. But as soon as his nose touched it, he found out different. This fence was NOT like the others. This one bit!

Terrified, he took off, his broken leash dangling behind him, across the large yard and up the long driveway as if he was never going to stop running. He had to get as far away from that fence as he could.

“Kevin, come back!” she called out. “You’re heading for the street!”

But this time terror prevented him from hearing anything. When he got to the top of the driveway, before turning to run down the street, he paused. Did he hear something? Yes, he could hear her voice calling him. Coming from a long way away, it was soft, but somehow loud enough to break through his terror.

He watched her a few minutes as she continued to call to him.

“Come on, boy. It’s OK. Come back to me.” she called gently, crouching down in an inviting position.

Not sure, he just stood there. He still didn’t understand what had happened. How did a fence hurt that bad? And why was it there in the first place? All he wanted to do was check out something on the other side.

But what he did understand was that this girl loved him and could protect him. And he loved her. So he ran to her as fast as he could and hid behind her. And there, he was determined to stay.

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Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com

The Gray Cat and Her Space: An Allegory (or maybe a Parable)

The gray cat loved her space. This space under the living room table. The floor length white tablecloth hid her from everyone, giving her a sense of security. This was her happy place. This was where she was most comfortable.

She spent as much time there as she could. Sometimes she would be enticed to go out – when her owner or when nature called – but as soon as she could, she would scamper back under the table. She didn’t like it outside her space. It was too big and cold and things kept changing out there. Not like this small, warm, dark, consistent place she had made her own.

One day she heard a new sound. Not like the sounds made by the people who lived there. This was a very quiet sound. Almost like a whisper. Like whispery soft footsteps moving about the room. Curious, the gray cat peeked out from under the edge of the tablecloth. She couldn’t believe her eyes – there was another cat in the room! A black and white cat who seemed to see everything as he wandered around.

The gray cat ducked back under the tablecloth. Did he see her? Hopefully not. Maybe he wouldn’t think to look under the tablecloth. Maybe he’ll just continue on through the room and out the other door. Who was he anyway? Did her owner get another cat? Heaven forbid! The last thing she wanted to do was share her space.

The tablecloth moved, then the edge lifted and his soft black eyes looked in. She closed IMG_20180518_205030007her eyes and pretended not to be there. Maybe he won’t see her in the dim light. But he did and came all the way in. How dare he? This was her place, made just the way she wanted it. And here he was threatening to change it! No way could she allow this!

She attacked. There was a wild scuffling for a few minutes. She fought with everything she had until he had had enough and ran off. She watched him go, smirking and satisfied with herself. This was her place, and no one, not even him, was going to change it.

 

Have you figured out the meaning behind the story?

If you want to try figuring it out by yourself, stop reading here.

 

Still reading?

Good! Here’s the meaning I had in mind.

the gray cat is us, Christians

the table and tablecloth is our set of beliefs and values that we’ve formed and are comfortable with

the living room is life

the black and white cat is God’s truth

God’s truth will seek us out no matter where we are in life. But we don’t always welcome God’s truth when it arrives. We often chase it away from our comfortable place so we can continue living life the way we want it and so we don’t have to change. We will even fight to keep from changing.

 

So… what do you think?  I would love to hear what you got from the story. Do you have another interpretation?

Make my day by leaving a comment below. 🙂