That’s what potluck was like when I was a child. It was far superior to today’s offerings, at least half of which are purchased on the way—fold-up boxes of fried chicken and take-out pizza, plastic containers of salads and slaw, and bakery boxes of cakes and pies, all entirely too perfect to be made from scratch. Is it any wonder that everyone rushes for the obviously homemade goodies and even snatches slices of cake early, before going through the regular line, and hides them for a later dessert?
Potluck originally referred to feeding drop-in guests or folks passing through who needed a meal whatever was in the pot that evening. Drop-ins were not considered rude in those days. I remember my parents thoroughly enjoying the evenings when someone just happened to stop by. We didn’t load our lives down with extra-curricular activities back then--people were the activities.
Potluck eventually came to mean “You bring what you have and I’ll bring what I have and we’ll eat together.” It didn’t really involve any extra work—that was the point. When no one has enough of one thing but you pool it together, there is plenty for everyone, and plenty of time left to visit.
We often speak of “feasting on the word of God.” I wonder what would happen if we had a potluck? What would I have to offer? Anything at all? Do I spend enough time in the word of God to have thoughts on it readily at hand? Most of us are too embarrassed to show up at a real potluck with nothing in our hands, but think nothing of showing up to a Bible study with nothing to share.
Would my spiritual table be loaded down with good food or store-bought, processed, preservative-laden grub because I had no time left in my day to cook something up? Would my offering be fresh and nutritious or calorie-laden and fatty? Would it be a gracious plenty mounded high in the bowl or spooned into a plastic cup barely big enough to feed one? Would it be piping hot or lukewarm? Would people go away satisfied or determined to avoid my table at all costs in the future?
Think about it tonight when you look at the meal you feed your family. What’s in that spiritual pot of yours should someone happen by? Would they be lucky or not?
Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David, Isaiah 55:1-3.