Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: In The Kitchen - deadline 7-19-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/12/12)
TITLE: Where Life Gets Real
By Hiram Claudio
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For homes that have one, the dining room is a unique place. It’s the place where the ‘really nice’ plates are kept. They stand proudly on display next to samples of the ‘really nice’ silverware. When the occasion warrants, we also put out the ‘really nice’ napkins with the special napkin rings, which hold the napkins neatly in place – even though I’m quite sure the napkins would stay put without them.
The ‘really nice’ glasses come out as well; the ones that if finger prints are detected on them prior to the meal, serious bodily harm could ensue. These glasses all match and, in some cases, are family heirlooms. The tablecloth is spotless and creates a true sense of formal elegance. And when the silverware is set at each spot, it is done so identically from setting to setting.
When we eat at the dining room table, we dress a little better. We sit up a little straighter. We also seem to locate a slightly better mannered version of ourselves. Yes, in the dining room, everything exists to create a wonderful picture of a highly cultured, pleasantly interacting, family experience.
The conversation at the dining room table follows suit, for when there, the depth of verbal interaction hovers somewhere around the ‘chit chat’ level. I’m not sure if it’s a by-product of the formal setting we’ve worked so hard to create. But it has been my observation that, in the dining room, we keep things light and steer clear of potentially challenging topics. We intentionally avoid the difficult issues of our day … and of life.
Now, eating in the kitchen is totally different! At the kitchen table, none of the plates have to match. Some of the glasses used are cleaned out Flintstone jelly jars or the special ones we’ve been collecting from McDonalds. The silverware is what has been on sale at the market over the past few weeks. The napkins are accessed out of a central bin in the middle of the table – a practice that, for some reason, is unusable in the dining room.
The table doesn’t have a table cloth – often place mats suffice, if used at all. The overall feel of informality is unmistakable. At times, if we’re honest, even the chairs don’t all match. There could very well be a stool from another room when needed.
The conversation is different too. For at the kitchen table, real family business is discussed. When not being used for a meal, this is where bills are reviewed, where Mom and Dad have discussions away from others, and where ‘serious’ conversations with the kids occur. The dining room may have been where the family looked its best but the kitchen is where the family truly lived. And to further substantiate my claim, many homes don’t have a formal dining room. Yet … they all have a kitchen.
The dining room is where we entertain guests, put our best foot forward, and keep the conversation light. The kitchen is where we get into the deeper areas of life, address our daily struggles, and get honest with one another. If you’re at the dining room table and a difficult issue arises with someone, you’re likely to hear, “Can I talk to you … in the kitchen?”
You know … so many believers invite the Lord into their lives but never get past the dining room with Him. He’s invited into their hearts but they miss His deepest desire by keeping Him as a guest to be entertained. The dining room can give the appearance that everything is in place. But the conversation, as well as the overall relationship, remains on the surface.
Jesus wants to get into your kitchen. He’s not put off by the fact that you struggle with issues that don’t match your profession of faith. He wants to exist with you in that place where you truly live, moving past attempts to impress. Since He loves you as you are, He wants to interact with you where you are.
Don’t keep our Precious Savior in the dining room. Be committed to sharing the deepest recesses of your being with Him. He sees them anyway. Go beyond the ‘chit chat’ and be fully devoted to the idea that, when it comes to Jesus, He’ll always be welcomed in your heart’s kitchen!
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