“Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:15-16 (NIV)
My kitchen island is a crazy-busy place. Some days it’s littered with stray school papers, nearly-due bills needing to be paid and clipped coupons for the local pizzeria. Other days it’s loaded up with sacks of groceries from the supermarket waiting to be put into the pantry and fridge.
But papers, cans and cartons aren’t the only constant callers. My island is also a people magnet. My people—and their people—often congregate here, usually for a quick bite to eat before heading to work or school or upon returning later in the day.
But perhaps the greatest magnetic pull happens during celebrations big and small—major holidays as well as random, impromptu and informal gatherings.
During our extended holiday get-togethers, it pulls double duty as a buffet bar, showcasing the cuisine family members bring for our festivities: Uncle Kevin’s barbecued meatballs, Grandma Margaret’s fancified veggie tray, Aunt Loraine’s melt-in-your-mouth peanut-butter fudge.
But it’s the unofficial gatherings I have come to treasure most. The times when my children’s friends pull up a stool and inquire, “Mama Karen, whatcha got that’s good to eat?” The everyday moments we celebrate around my kitchen island: A completed English paper … a chemistry concept finally understood … the arrival of fall football season … braces coming off.
I think we sometimes make our faith so complicated. Yes, there are deep theological truths we should seek to understand, but there are also many simple commands tucked into the pages of Scripture. Hebrews 13:15-16 is one such example: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”
We can discover three simple ways to love others in this verse:
1. Praise God by professing His name with our lips.
2. Do good.
3. Share with others.
And what is the result from us performing these straightforward actions? The last half of verse 16 tells us: It pleases God.
As loved ones, friends, and even strangers assemble at my magnetic kitchen island, this verse remains cemented in my mind, along with its three directives.
I can look for natural — not forced or contrived — opportunities to speak of God and His goodness.
I can make an effort to do good: Assist a teenager with his homework. Fix a broken strap on another’s backpack. Help a 20-something young woman sort out a difficult relationship.
And I can share. Our home. Our food — no matter how humble and un-gourmet. Our dishes (that sometimes get chipped or broken). My time. My heart. My faith.
I smile when I think of how such small “sacrifices” done in Jesus’ Name please God. And while cooking, cleaning and exposing your dishes to potential damage might seem like inconveniences at first — yes, even sacrifices — they not only please God, but can bring us pleasure as well.
Opening our lives to sacrificially celebrate holidays, holy days and even the everyday gives us opportunities to serve. It beckons us to be others-centered. Such serving brings us joy, produces fond memories and creates lasting connections, soul-to-soul. Showing love can be the avenue God uses for someone to begin a relationship with Him and they respond — due in part to our words, deeds and shared possessions.
How might the Holy Spirit be tapping on your heart today, prompting you to speak truth, do good and share life? It might not be gathered around a kitchen island, but your very presence and prayerful attitude can be a magnet that draws other souls to you and points them straight toward Him.
Karen’s new book, Listen Love Repeat, releases soon. Learn more here, and see the synopsis below!
Our culture is self-obsessed – in our schedules, relationships, and especially online. In the midst of this near-narcissism, we have forgotten the joy that comes from putting others first. Listen, Love, Repeat encourages us to embrace backwards living, listening for ‘heart drops’—hints from those in our lives who need encouragement—and then reaching out to them in practical and doable ways.
As we scatter kindness, we get to see lives changed right before our eyes. Not only the lives of others, but our own lives as well.