Is this dinner for us?
It was a while ago now, but it has stayed with me. I was in the kitchen, as I often am, preparing a meal. When my youngest brother came over. He is the thinker, the verbal processor, the one who is always asking questions and listening.
It had been a busy few weeks with a full schedule and lots of meals. Having company over for holidays, small groups, and delivering food for a church member’s food chain. My brother had probably seen as much food going out the doors in those few days as he had been set on the dinner table. So his question–“Is this dinner for us?” It may have been a simple 3-year-old question, but it caught me off guard. I continued to finish the meal I was working on, but I kept thinking about that question.
I thought about all the time spent on my feet for something that would only last a little while, and then there was the cleanup. I thought about the kitchen responsibility that became mine at a young age and how I had somehow fallen into that role which now consumes nearly every evening. I thought about how mundane meal preparation is. That little area of serving that seems so unimportant. How teacher and evangelist and leader roles in the church are much more desirable. They seem more important because their impact is seen.
Roles such as serving and hospitality often go unnoticed by us adults, but they aren’t unimportant. This is what my little brother showed me.
Andrew… Peter’s Brother
Andrew, in the Gospels, is a picture of someone who took on a background serving role. He was the first to meet Jesus and the one who most often led others to him. Andrew was unnoticed, quiet, and sometimes the others forgot to even mention him. He was overshadowed by the other roles around him, but he humbly accepted that place. In each scene he shows up in Scripture, he is referred to simply as Peter’s brother. Peter’s brother, as if his importance was wrapped up in the fact that he was identified with Peter.
Growing up in a large family, I can relate with those identifying titles quite well. Being grouped by family rather than seen individually. Called my dad’s daughter. My sister’s sister. Whoever is more known by someone becomes the title by which you are known too. And so Peter, being the more dominant and outspoken one, became the head of the group. And Andrew became, simply, his brother.
Andrew had the right heart for ministry in the background. He was an effective leader, even though he didn’t take the spotlight. He lived his whole life in the shadows, and he accepted that role. That is the very thing that made him helpful.
He made up a part of the quiet laborers in humble places. (John MacArthur)
Serve As Jesus
It may not seem as thrilling to deliver a meal to a sick church member as it does to finance a church planting or give a Sunday sermon. But it is the small acts, over and over, that build up and hold a church body together. Little by little, the small things become the big things.
That one question sparked a desire in me–a desire to be so known by serving that when I have children, they will come into my kitchen at dinner time and ask, “Is this dinner for us?” Because they see that their father and I give so often and so much that it is not strange when we keep little for ourselves. I want them to know that the small things are important. That they don’t go unnoticed, maybe by the majority, but not by God.
Now Jesus said to them, “Come have breakfast,” but none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you,” they knew it was the Lord.John 21:12
I want to serve like Jesus. To labor quietly in humble places. To wash feet and cook breakfast. This is the only time we see Jesus cooking in the scriptures, but it says they dared not ask who he was because they KNEW it was the Lord. How did they know? I am convinced it was because he was so often serving them that cooking breakfast gave it away.
For even the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and give his life a ransom for many.Mark 10:45
If He, the Lord of the universe, came to serve, so should we.