In my day---we all ate in the cafeteria. I am sure some lucky souls brought their lunch, but my mother was not of the persuasion to spoil the child by preparing something I might eat. Picky would be a gross understatement concerning what I would eat pre age 18. The ladies in the cafeteria were so sweet---and let's face it they did their best with what they were given to work with---but many-many a day I would literally eat my roll and that was it. I cannot tell you how unappetizing canned Brussels sprouts were to an elementary age student. Oh--there were those days the food gods smiled and I would have one---and BONANZA DAY-two items I would eat--but those were rare indeed. I am certain my mother held to the philosophy when I got hungry enough--I would eat. She was wrong. I did not like milk either--and those were the days of no chocolate milk--which I would drink---and no water offered. So lunch could resemble a lot of sand and an oasis mirage in the Sarah Desert--LOTS of days.
When I was finally old enough to drive and my older brother went off to college--leaving the keys to the Ford station wagon behind, I began leaving school and going home for a peanut butter sandwich. Later this evolved into a car load going to the local Dairy Etta for a quickie burger. How I managed to talk Momma into money for that treat, I am not sure--but my days of starvation ended with the advent of car keys.
Fast forward to my own children and their journey through school lunches. #1 son is pickier than I ever thought about being--and still to this day--pretty picky. I on the other hand have slipped into the philosophy---if it is edible--eat it! At any rate---he would have loved for me to prepare his lunch. Unfortunately I had swallowed Momma's rule of you will eat the school lunch. Unlike my childhood, I did keep plenty of snacks and food available for after school--so his starvation ended immediately after school everyday. By the time the third child went to school, I had relaxed a great deal. My memory is of all three eating from the concessions during high school and only gracing the cafeteria with their presence on the days it was something they liked. I remember one of them telling me--"I am not eating from a salad bar that has been man handled for an hour before I go through the line." That totally changed my ability to EVER eat from a salad bar again. They all survived and appear healthy today--with very few lunches every prepared by me.
Fast forward to the present generation. #1 Daughter prepares lunches for her children every school day--even the two who have the option of eating in the school cafeteria. Was it so bad that she is permanently scared? Probably not--but in all fairness--cooking for the masses is not an easy task. Go for a stay in the hospital and try their food. Compare your home cooking to eating in a cafeteria. Cooking small amounts is almost always better--with the exception of soup and gumbo. Not only does she prepare lunches for the three school boys--but she customizes each lunch to personal preference. REALLY! Three totally different lunches--the pandered to generation has emerged. NO MORE--you will eat this---instead--"What would you like?" What happened to parental toughness? She also draws a picture on their napkins for them. Over the top--Super MOM! Puts my mothering to shame!
Of these three scenarios which would you prefer? It takes no geniuses to figure out we want the personalized menu with the hand drawn picture. Why? Because it shows the care and love of the one preparing the lunch. Everyone looks on and sees you enjoying your lunch and knows it was prepared with care and concern for what you would enjoy. We all desire to be pampered and know the love shown by the effort of the pamper- er. We have a deep need to be loved--and this effort is evidence of the love we desire.
Where could I possibly be going with all of this? I made a full circle to the best table I ever had set for me. The table lovingly offered me. The table filled with the bounty of love that will nourish my soul and satisfy all my longings. The cup filled with living water which will forever satisfy my thirst sits at my right hand. The perfect feast--offered at The Table Of God. The blessing of sitting with Him and partaking of all He offers--the most bounteous feast--the most lavish service--the most satisfying communion--I have ever known-and all prepared for me.
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, "Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God."