Proverbs 15:17

Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.

The message of the proverb is that love is supreme over wealth. Better to only afford a skimpy diet than to dine luxuriously if love comes with the former and hatred with the latter.

This proverb can also teach us an important lesson about hospitality. True hospitality is not the ability to prepare sumptuous meals for guests; it is the ability to provide an environment in which the guests feel that warmth and peace are present. It is not uncommon for parties and celebrations to be tense because the anxiety of the hosts, an anxiety brought on by the preparation and worries about everything “going right.” It is better to have a host who enjoys his/her guests than one who worries over them.

How wonderful it is for us to have a Host who enjoys us and provides a banquet overflowing with delicious food. Our Lord makes our cups overflow. But just as a feast can be spoiled by an anxious host, so it can be dampened by overanxious guests who refuse to be at ease. Our Lord invites us to his table every day to enjoy the blessings of his grace, and yet we so often bring to the table the worries and strife that beset us, either because we refuse to let them go or we can’t believe that we are allowed to let them go.

Today, your Lord has prepared a feast of his grace, mercy, and love. He knows that you are not dressed as well as you should be; he knows the baggage you bring with you. All the more, he wants you to take his robe of righteousness and even of blessing; he wants to take away the load of your baggage. Don’t go through this day missing his feast, but enjoy the fattened ox that is served with love.

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