When I was a kid, during summer vacation, a great deal of that time was spent working in the garden. He hoed the beans, picked the corn, dug potatoes, hulled peanuts, pulled apples from the trees, combed through the plants for strawberries and tomatoes.
It was a big garden and produced easily enough for the eight of us living in the ranch style home in what was once considered “the country”.
There was a lot of canning that went on all summer long and the house would be filled with the smells of corn being blanched or green beans cooking in quantities that would fill the shelves dad and grandpa had built downstairs.
On Thanksgiving, the season for gardening was over and done. The long table had the leaves taken from under the bed where they lay most of the time and was made longer. Everyone would gather round and find a seat.
Grandma, it seemed, had attempted to decimate the stockpile of food for the year by preparing everything she could lay her little hands upon.
There was barely room for my plate as I sat among bowl after bowl of a variety of foods. Platters of meat and fixings lay before me and, of course, there were bowls with towels over them concealing hot rolls that had taken hours to rise and ready themselves for the oven. Those were my favorite, so hot they were hard to hold, melting an overdose of butter beneath a beautifully browned surface.
We’d pray and be ready to dig in and Grandma would realize that there were a couple of things she had neglected to cook for the meal.
She’d ask, “You’ns want me to fix some black-eyed peas? Do you’ns think we need more corn on the cob?”
I always declined the black-eyed peas since, to me, they had about the same flavor as paste and I you didn’t see me bringing paste to the table.
I think Grandma wanted Thanksgiving to reflect all the hard work for the year and so all the blessings we had received. They were so much more than I realized back then. They were more than I wanted.
I always left so much at that table.
I try to live the entire year in an attitude of gratitude, not because I’m a great guy or anything, but because my life kind of depends on it. I’m such a selfish and self-centered person that if I don’t make every effort to be grateful, my old egotistical self tries to destroy me.
But today, as Thanksgiving approaches, I am struck that I am so blessed to sit at the table of blessing that he has prepared. He seems to never be able to stop, he just keeps heaping more and more upon the table before me and I am filled to the point of bursting at the seams.
I sit here and wonder what I have turned down, what I have had placed in front of me and said, “No thanks!” or “That looks like it tastes like paste”.
Matthew 22:2 “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. 3 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!”
He has prepared a feast and invited me to take it all in. He desires to meet my every need, needs that seem insurmountable, needs that seem trivial and needs I know nothing about. His feast encompasses everything but I refuse to partake of everything and, at times, refuse to partake of anything.
God’s abundance is too much for me to take it all in. There is so much more than I realize, more than I want, more than I can comprehend.
I’ve only begun this walk with God. My decades of mortality are a fraction of eternity. I’m like a little kid that has only learned to appreciate the hot rolls and butter and is oblivious to the other delicacies he has for me.
I only know that I cannot live without these trips to his table, without the life he gives me through his blessing and I really only deserve it because he took the time and effort to place it before me.
I’m a little teary-eyed this morning as I think about it, as I think about the family I’ve been given that has lived his love before me and the times we feasted together as he desires me to feast with him.
Thank you God. Thank you.