My family went through hard economic times in 1971. My father lost his job as a pharmaceutical salesman due to a company merger and he was unemployed for quite a while. As a result, finances were very tight, so our family of six no longer enjoyed many of the niceties to which we were accustomed. Mother was determined to save money.
One way mom economized was to prepare nutritious but economical one-pot meals for supper, like chili, green bean deluxe, chicken noodle and beef vegetable soups, macaroni and cheese, ground beef and noodles and lots and lots of bean soup. Mom sure made a mighty fine pot of bean soup! It was great, especially when accompanied with a generous piece of corn bread or dinner biscuit slathered with butter and honey or jam! Yum!
One Sabbath after services and choir practice, for which mother was the pianist, mom happened to meet and visit with a couple who had just moved to the area. The husband was enrolled in several classes at the university which, when finished, would complete his education. The wife loved to sing, so she had joined the church choir. Mother was impressed with this interesting couple, so she decided to invite them for supper. But, how do you entertain guests on a shoestring budget?
On Friday afternoon, mom set our dining room table with the family’s china plates and bowls, silver cutlery, crystal water glasses and grandmother’s tablecloth and cloth napkins. Added to the table setting was a pair of silver candlestick holders, which was a wedding gift, a slightly used pair of candles, and a homemade centerpiece.
On the Sabbath, after our guests had arrived and all were seated around the table in the dining room, and after the candles were lit, the moment arrived when dinner was served. Then, from the kitchen, mom brought in her most delicious pot of bean soup she had ever made, to the great delight of our guests, who were bean soup lovers, too. Also served were corn bread, with all the trimmings, and a dessert which our guests contributed to the meal. As we ate and fellowshipped by candlelight, our guests shared with us their European heritage and the dramatic story of their family’s escape into friendly territory during World War II. We were all fascinated by what we heard!
During these challenging times, Christian fellowship is immensely important. And, one of the many acts of service a woman can perform is to plan and prepare a meal where brethren can fellowship by sharing humorous and interesting stories, their family heritage, God’s calling and His blessings, childhood tales, and one’s hopes and future plans. A fancy meal is not required. Finger foods or a potluck, to which everyone contributes, or a simple meal of chili, vegetable soup, Sloppy Joes or a plate of spaghetti is hard to beat (Psalm 133; Hebrews 10:24-25). Through this simple act of fellowship, we can include those who are alone or newcomers, widows, widowers, single parents or to comfort and encourage those who may be coping with difficult personal circumstances. So, let us never forget the importance of food and fellowship!