Fun and Feasting!
33 They said to him, “John’s disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking.”
34 Jesus answered, “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.” Luke 5:33-35 New International Version
While I think it is important for us to live life with eternity in mind, I love this reminder that part of glorifying God is enjoying those pleasures that he created for us. God created beauty and fun, food and drink, and all of life’s pleasures for us to enjoy with-in the boundaries that he set forth. I know people on both ends of the spectrum, those that seem to never enjoy anything and are always serious and somber and those that live ‘in the moment’ to such an extent that they neglect many important things in life. I think what Sally is expressing in this chapter is neither of those things but a balance of recognizing that part of life is fun and enjoyment. We can laugh and have fun while still glorifying God.
” Discipleship happens through relationships that are cultivated by listening to the needs of the moment and moving to meet those needs—even when those needs involve laughing and having fun. ” (pg. 107)
In years of serving God in a variety of roles both here and in Mexico, I found that before we could effectively minister to people we had to build some kind of relationship or meet their other needs. Sometimes that meant holding medical clinics and caring for the sick, but other times it meant bringing a soccer ball and playing with children or making crafts with them. I can tell with my own children that they are more receptive to the bigger ideals and goals when I’m also meeting their need for activity and fun or time alone with me. I have to study my children and know what they need so that I can fill their cups. Once we have that, then they are more open to the deeper things. For my daughter this means baking cookies, having tea or going out and doing a little ‘window shopping’. These things help meet her needs and leave her open to deeper conversations. My son would rather play Legos, ride bikes, or spend time playing outside. Those times aren’t wasted time, they are precious valuable times of relationship building.
” When you have toddlers, five minutes at the dinner table without someone drooping food or wailing over the fact they don’t like peas is a sought-after dream. A discipleship that cannot make room for the ordinary is unrealistic. ” (109)
This quote so describes some of our days. Now that two of my children are older it is better but I still have a 3 year old and a baby on the way so some days I’m still in the thick of this. I think it is important that we keep trying because little by little they start to learn. As we try, we can’t beat ourselves up when things don’t look perfect. Toddlers (at least all the ones I know) aren’t going to sit quiet and still at the table for a long theological discussion. However, we keep working and training and having family conversations so that they begin to understand what our family table looks like. For some of you right now getting in a prayer before meal time and not having any melt downs at the table is an accomplishment and that is ok. You are still loving and teaching and growing your children. As my children grow older, even though some days I’m still in the thick of it all, I can see the growth and how those times of training are paying off in relationships and table talk. Now we can often have long conversations about school or life or discipleship with the older two asking questions while we eat and fellowship (especially if I excuse the three year old once he is done eating to play quietly with a toy or make a point to let him talk about something he wants to say even if it doesn’t relate to the topic at hand.) So if you are in the period of younger children or other challenges, don’t give up. It really will pay off and be worth it in the end.
I hope that you take time this week to try Sally’s suggestion of taking 15 minutes to do something you enjoy and stop the cycle of busyness. It is so easy to feel compelled to do more and more (and sometimes those things are necessary) but even a small break can be refreshing. Tell me in the comments what you can do this week for just 15 minutes to enjoy that time and break the cycle.
I’m also looking forward to trying the Clarkson Snowballs (Russian Tea Cakes) recipe at the end of that chapter. They look easy and tasty. I think it will be fun to make them with my daughter. I just have to remember to get some pecans so that we have all the ingredients.
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