Sunday Lunch runs like a well-oiled machine….
I prepare the meal the night before, finishing up early Sunday mornings – just enough to fill up those empty bellies and to leave space for dessert. We play; we laugh; we clean up together. I drop them off after Big-Red-Condor Karaoke, and, by 4pm, I’m EXHAUSTED in all the best ways.
I should have known from the beginning that this Sunday Lunch wasn’t going to be like the others. Usually it’s beans and rice, but this week, just for a treat, we were going to have MEAT. And taco soup at that!
I couldn’t get to it Saturday night, and on Sunday morning… after chopping the onions at 6:30am, and cooking it halfway, I realized our meat was rancid. And I needed a quick back-up! I managed to defrost the 2 ½ chicken breasts I had, chop more onions, throw in a little bit of this, a little bit of that, cook some kidney beans, corn bread, and create a homemade chicken-chili-esque kind of meal, with part of a package of noodles to spread it further. I was worn out before church even started, but thankful that He had provided a soupy, yet hearty, just-enough kind of feast for us to come home to.
That wasn’t the only curve ball of yesterday’s meal. This week, Sunday Lunch had a pit stop.
The kind of interruption Jesus lived for.
Literally. Lived for, died for.
We had to take a different route out of Mbonisweni, and ended up going past Leah’s house. A house we built early this year and is home to 3 children that my heart swells and breaks for. Samkelo, Maria (Sesi) and Bennett (Bhuti).
We were given a surprising invitation into a home to pray for an afflicted man in a house near Leah’s. Leah wasn’t home, and we didn’t even stop in front of their house. But Leah’s children ran out screaming, squealing, delighting, and scaling me with spidey-skills. It was like a one-car, one-lady parade had come down their road, and they weren’t going to miss a moment of it. I had nothing to offer at that moment, but I felt a little nudging that told me I’d come back that day with Sunday Lunch leftovers for Leah’s family.
I was nervous about feeding the Sunday Lunch crew this new recipe, much less having enough to feed ANOTHER family!
I walked into the kitchen back at base, heavy with the weight of that whisper I had just heard. I pulled the top off that giant pot, and my eyes bulged out of my head. The soup was HUGE! And it wasn’t soup anymore!
The noodles had absorbed all the water and had created a still-warm, super-hearty, super-delicious chicken-chili-pasta kind of creation. It was MORE THAN twice the amount of food I had prepared.
And I remembered 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
And the breaking and giving thanks.
And the groups spread out on the lawn, each receiving their portion.
So I looked to the heavens and gave bulgy-eyed thanks.
And together, me and a picnic blanket full of His beloved, gave thanks and feasted until we could eat no more.
And then I filled a container to take to Mama Charity, who had stayed home with a sick baby.
And after Sunday Lunch was over, I filled a bucket… there was literally so much, it took a bucket. I took a bucket of chicken-chili nourishment and a fresh loaf of bread to Leah’s house. It was enough to feed her family more than once, and enough to remind me of just how faithful He is.
When He whispers about what it seem like there is not enough of, He gives leftovers.
He had something in His hands. And He trusted His Father with it. And then entrusted it into the hands of His disciples. Every disciple who approached the hungry with the provision their Teacher had given them returned to Him with a basket full of more than they started with. Twelve for twelve.
Don’t let it stay in your fridge.
Don’t let the guest room stay empty.
Don’t let that chair at the dinner table go unfilled.
Don’t let it sit collecting dust or collecting interest on this earth, when treasures are being multiplied WITH LEFTOVERS.
Break open that lid.
Live on the leftovers.
And do it in the name of the One who was, and is, and is to come.
The One who said:
“…Do you truly love me more than these?
... Feed my lambs.”
He replied, “You give them something to eat.”
…Taking the five loves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them. Then he gave them to the disciples to set before the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Luke 9:13a, 15-17