by Nancy E. Head @NancyEHead
“Bread, so that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor. . . Wine that joy and prosperity may reign forever.”
In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George and Mary Bailey offer the housewarming gifts of bread, salt, and wine to the Martini family. A large family, the Martinis purchase their home only because of George Bailey’s friendly business dealings.
George heads a wobbly savings and loan, spending his days in a shabby little office believing his life has no value. Recipients of George’s generosity know better. In the end, George realizes the magnitude of his Wonderful Life.
As a single mother of five, I frequently received “bread” from the generous hands of others. Some days were lean, some, dreadful. But many memories from those days reflect the well-flavored life.
One Thanksgiving, a Sunday school class provided our feast. Another year, a fellow churchgoer signed our family up for her company’s Christmas outreach. Sometimes, we would find a box of food on our front porch. But it wasn’t just food and goods. People gave us the opportunity to sit together and enjoy bounty. There was joy in knowing others cared, joy in celebrating our blessings.
After I remarried, life became more financially secure. Now we can be George Baileys to others, offering bread to enhance their lives. But giving never goes in one direction. Giving adds flavor to our lives too.
With ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, we decided a few years ago that our dining room table was too small. We yearned for extra room for side dishes and elbows. So we found a carpenter to build a new table with removable leaves to expand or contract as needed.
But in order to use furniture, you first must get it into the house.
Even in its smallest state, the table was too wide for our front door. We would have to hoist the table over the back rail deck. And that seemed impossible unless we could get someone to help.
The best candidate seemed to be the young man who had just moved in next door. He was strong, and he was home. Upon asking for his help, we learned that he is a mover by trade. How perfect! The old table went out the back door and the new one came in.
We had planned to put the old one on the sidewalk with a “Free” sign on it. But we learned this neighbor and his wife had no table. Now they do.
He blessed us by helping. We blessed him by filling a need we hadn’t realized existed. Now his family can break bread as they sit together. Blessing comes in receiving and giving.
We know from Scripture we’re to love our neighbors. Matthew, Mark, Luke, Romans, Galatians, and James all tell us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s hard today for many of us to know our neighbors, let alone love them. Maybe a quick conversation as we come and go will reveal a need we hadn’t been aware of. And perhaps the need is just that bit of time we give to show we care enough to ask how someone is doing and wait for an answer.
We can make a difference in our neighborhoods, in our communities. Christ has made us the salt to bring flavor and life to our world. In our giving, He gives back a flavored life.
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:16, NIV
About the author: Nancy E. Head is the author of Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord. Once a single mother with five children under the age of 14, she now teaches middle school through college classes and works in her community to lift those in need toward independence. Nancy is also a speaker at Christian Women Speakers.