Last night we had an unexpected guest for dinner. We had just finished thanking God for providing the delicious food we were about to enjoy when the doorbell rang. The three of us looked at each other quizzically as Stephanie asked,
“Are either of you expecting someone?”
It was our friend, Renee. Earlier in the evening, she and Stephanie had mixed up which night they were referring to when making dinner plans. As Stephanie greeted her, Fabio and I immediately went to work making space at the table and setting a fourth place for our unexpected guest.
She was unexpected to us at any rate.
Making dinner had been a joint effort. Fabio had made the “contorni” or side dishes earlier in the evening while I had a couple of skype calls; afterwards I cooked the fish while he watched a movie and Stephanie continued working on her homework for her online classes. We typically try to make enough food for dinner so there are leftovers for Fabio and/or Stephanie to take with them to work for lunch the following day. Tonight was no exception so there were plenty of fish and vegetables to share with our friend (though anyone vaguely familiar with Jesus knows He is brilliant at multiplying fish!).
At one point while I was prepping the fish, I started digging through the fruit basket to pull out some lemons when I noticed we still had the pears I bought last Friday at the market to use up.
On a whim, I pulled out three pears.
Once I had the fish in the oven cooking, I washed and prepped the pears and placed them in a small pan with butter and cinnamon to bake after the fish was done.
But Fabio doesn’t like cooked fruit. I knew he wouldn’t want one.
Even though I remembered this about Fabio, I still proceeded to pull out three. Why? In the moment, I had no idea. The question crossed my mind for a brief second,
but with an internal shrug, I brushed the thought away as quickly as it came with the argument if neither Stephanie nor myself wanted the extra pear, we could always save it for tomorrow.
As soon as Fabio had finished eating his dinner, he excused himself from the table and retreated to his bedroom to give us ladies space to visit more candidly than we might otherwise.
Our friend understood we hadn’t been expecting her and I am sure if I had only made two pears, she would have been more than understanding why one of us would have had to go without or we would have had to split the two pears into three portions.
But we didn’t have two pears… we had three.
While Stephanie, Fabio and I had no idea ahead of time our friend would be joining us for dinner, the Lord already knew.
He knew before time began I would need to make three pears this evening rather than two.
He was expecting her.
Preparing for her.
Caring for her.
It may have been just a pear, but I can’t help but think of it as a tangible reminder God knew she would be joining us for dinner.
Cooking a third pear wasn’t my idea. It didn’t make sense to cook three. I was merely going about my business preparing dinner while unbeknownst to me, my holy and all-knowing heavenly Father was there in the kitchen with me directing even such a small and seemingly insignificant decision as how many pears I should cook.
I am encouraged by what happened both in seeing how the Lord knew our friend would be joining us for dinner long before we did and to know even when I’m busy minding my own business doing everyday tasks like cooking or cleaning or paying the bills, God is still at work even while I remain oblivious to what He is doing right before my eyes. I am so thankful I don’t have to be paying attention every waking second in order for Him to use me to accomplish His will– granted I love it when I am paying attention and get to engage with Him as He works wonders before my very eyes but it is also a great comfort to know when I’m not as attentive as I’d like to be, He is still there working out everything for my good and His glory.
Sometimes I fear we make following Jesus out to be some complicated, 9-step ordeal or something with a deep, spiritual experience or feeling that accompanies our every right decision.
Personally, I think keeping in step with the Spirit can often look pretty simple.
Sometimes it can be as simple as grabbing three pears instead of two.