Miss Mary brought a dish to the church lunches for a long time but recently quit. No one thought much about it at first.
- Maybe she wasn’t feeling good.
- Maybe she was extra busy.
The next one arrived and Miss Mary did not bring anything that day either. Some of the people came to the pastor and asked if he knew what the problem was with Miss Mary not bringing her beautiful dish as always. They couldn’t imagine what the issue was. They missed her dish. They wanted her dish. He told them that they should go speak to her if they saw it as a problem.
So, Margaret, Sarah, Esther, and Mabel all went over to Miss Mary’s house. The yard looked fine. The flowers were blooming. The porch was clean. They rang the doorbell and Miss Mary came to the door. They noted to themselves she seems fine. Invited in, they went to have some tea. The house looked fine. The tea tasted right.
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM?
They all sat down and meandered around the issue until Miss Mary spoke up.
“You all here to see where my dish has been?”
Trying to fake shock, they all tried to deny it. Finally, Mabel spoke up and explained that they were just concerned something might be wrong.
“Oh, there is.”, replied Miss Mary.
“Every time there is a church lunch we all bring our dishes. Some are filled more than others. Some are more worn than others. I look down the table and then I listen. I listen as we all discuss how beautiful someone’s dish is. I look at the younger woman. I look at the little girls. Then it dawned on me. It’s not about the dish. It’s about the food. We comment so much on everyone’s dish or platter or bowl. But we have stopped talking about the food inside the container. Ladies, if we are only concerned about the container, we have missed the point. We don’t gather to evaluate one another’s dishes but to enjoy the food inside.”
At that the ladies were silent. They knew it to be true. They all vowed to make a change.
At the next church lunch, they all brought their broken and worn out containers and filled them with beautiful food. As the little girls came in they made sure to point out how good the food was and that it didn’t matter as much about what it arrived in. They made sure that the young moms understood that whatever they brought was more important than the container.
That was the most enjoyed meal that little church had eaten in a long time.
We teach our girls that the container is more important than what is inside. May we stop evaluating the containers and start enjoying the food inside. There we find joy and health and love.