Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 (NIV)
Holidays bring memories of my father’s mother. Raised in Alabama, she was southern to the core and the best cook I ever met. Dinners at grandma’s house meant so much food that we had a separate table to hold it all. Pole beans, black-eyed peas, corn, mashed potatoes, squash, fried okra, sliced tomatoes. My mouth waters just thinking about the vegetables. Meats like ham, fried chicken, country fried steak, chicken casserole. Sour cream pound cake, pies of all kinds, blackberry cobbler, fig bars and snicker doodle cookies covered in a sugar that she dyed purple. She made yeast rolls or cornbread from scratch. We always went home with a pecan coffee cake for the next day. Whatever she prepared was always tasty, and probably high in cholesterol and fat. No one cared in those days. Not only was she a good cook, but as many southern ladies are, my grandmother was stubborn. When she made up her mind about something, you could not talk her out of it. Whether it was a task to do or an opinion about something, she had a closed mind about many things. There was no telling her no. If she was going to bring a hundred pies to your Thanksgiving dinner, you might as well set up a table for one hundred pies. They would be coming even if you had already fixed five pies and two cakes. My mother learned to grin and bear this aspect of my grandmother’s personality. She always knew that no matter what grandma said she would prepare, she would bring at least twice as much and sometimes duplicates of what my mom had already fixed. I inherited my grandma’s penchant for cooking too much food. On Thanksgiving, we still go to my parent’s house, and my mom tries to keep me reined in. When I gave her a list of what I would bring this year, she pared it down to corn spoonbread and sweet potatoes. We will be a small group this year due to my dad’s illness. Usually, the house is open to many of our extended family and friends, but this year, there will only be eleven of us, just immediate family. There is no need for one hundred pies. Yet, I have fought the urge to do as my grandmother did and show up with more than is needed. I solved my dilemma by preparing two pans of corn spoonbread, one with cheese and one without. Everyone else likes it with cheese, but I prefer it plain. I made two kinds of sweet potatoes, one with nuts and one with apples and marshmallows. Technically, I have not overstepped my bounds. I am still only bringing corn and sweet potatoes. Like my grandmother, God is always ready to give us more than expected. Today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, I am grateful for all the blessings that He has poured out upon my life. Out of that overflow, I am obligated to give back as well.