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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

My Formal Dinner Party

Hosting a formal dinner party at the ripe young age of 19 should be easy, right?

I returned home after my freshman year of college to spend the summer with family, friends, and a job. My parents loved weekend camping and told me in advance when they’d be gone. So on a weekend when I knew I’d be “Home Alone,” I decided to throw a formal dinner party. 

Menu? Beef Wellington sounded perfect. I hadn’t exactly fixed it before, but it’s easy, right? Just a little meat and puff pastry!

On party day, I pulled out the linens, china, candlesticks, goblets, and silver. Bummer! The silver pieces were tarnished, and I didn’t have time to clean them. Cooking like Julia Child was taking way too much time. So I called my lifetime friend next door, and she agreed to clean the silver—at her house. I had a “no peeking” rule in place. 

Venue? The downstairs ping pong table and ten mismatched chairs would be perfect! I found two large tablecloths that remotely matched, and they almost covered the behemoth table. The china, silver, goblets, and napkins looked beautiful as I properly arranged them at each setting. Emily Post would be proud! I nearly dropped the black candlesticks as I stumbled to reach across the Goliath-size table to place them. 

Serving my friends was a pleasure, and they insisted on doing the clean-up. The formal dinner was an accomplishment, and doing it all without my mom’s knowledge was a wonderful feeling (that “Home Alone” thing again). 

Or so I thought. 

I was at work when my parents returned. I received a terse phone call from my mom—I thought I’d be grounded for life! I didn’t realize that the china, pans, and utensils weren’t properly washed and were put in the wrong places. I didn’t know the china was their wedding china, the linens and silver were fragile family heirlooms, the goblets were crystal, and the candlesticks were black onyx. 

My hope for a milestone gift to my friends, and a learning experience on how to throw a formal dinner party, ended in disappointment and rebuke. Reflecting on the experience now, I contemplate two things.

Preparation

Esther endured twelve months of beauty treatments with oil of myrrh and cosmetics (Esther 2:12) before meeting her future husband, King Xerxes. That's preparation! At the time, I believed I adequately prepared for the party. Her twelve months compared to my seven days? Not even close. My party missed the mark.

Do we miss the mark with Jesus? Acts 2:42 says,

"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." (NIV)

This scripture describes more than merely adequate preparation to enter God's presence. Are we devoted to walking with Jesus? Do we practice spiritual disciplines? Will God rebuke us if we're not prepared?

Treasures 

I didn’t recognize that the items I used at the dinner party were precious family heirlooms. I just saw linens, dishes, glasses, flatware, and candlesticks.

Do we recognize Jesus? Do we treat Him as ordinary, or as the precious treasure above all treasures? Is His presence richer than the finest china and crystal, more precious than onyx, shinier than polished silver, and more beautiful than heirloom linens?

Jesus is “a chosen and precious cornerstone.” 1 Peter 2:6 (NIV) 

Paul wrote that his goal was that the people would know "Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." Colossians 2:2-3 (NIV)

Do we daily invite God to feast with us? Do we see Jesus as the One in whom the treasures of wisdom and knowledge reside? Do we prepare the feast table on our knees—memorize scripture, meditate, and desire quality time with the One who always loves and never fails?

I want to crave my Jesus—the treasure above all treasures—for all the days of eternity with Him.

Copyright © April 2018 Cheryl Crofoot Knapp. Used by permission.

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