Come with me on a trip to 1994. The young couple is married for less than a year. They are working for meager wages for a major healthcare company, living in a trailer home, and keeping their heads above water to find a way to make life better.
One morning, on the way out the door, the young lady placed ribs in the crockpot and set them on low to cook while they were at work. This was going to be a good dinner. One thing is for sure, the young man is a meat and potatoes man! So, he especially was looking forward to dinner. All day long, his thoughts were centered on the delicious dinner waiting for him when they got home.
The smell of the ribs is in the air when the couple returns home from work. Excited for dinner, they make their way into the house. The young man immediately opens the crock pot.
“Is that all there is?” He exclaimed.
“What do you mean is that all there is?” Asked the young lady.
The young man stuttered, “I mean, well, that doesn’t even look like a full rack of ribs.”
“Fine. If you can’t be thankful for what you have, then I won’t fix them again.” Replied the young lady.
Yes, it is true. The couple in the story is Frances and me. In twenty-one years of marriage, the only ribs that I had eaten since that day were ribs in a restaurant. Frances held true to her word. There was one exception a couple of years ago when she found a rack on sale for Memorial Day. But, placing them on the grill, I burnt them to a crisp and did not enjoy them.
All of that changed earlier this week. Sunday evening, I received a text from Frances, “What type of ribs do you like?” I had to read it twice. This could not be happening. “Pork,” I replied. To my delight, she came home not with one, not with two, but with three racks of ribs! Grant it, they were on sale. But, none the less, for the first time in 21 years, I was going to have home cooked ribs!
So, why was this the best meal I have eaten in 21 years? There are three reasons.
- It reminded me to be thankful for what I do have. God has blessed me beyond measure. There is not enough space in cyberspace for me to list all of the blessings that God has poured upon me. I hope I never get to a point that I am ungrateful for His favor upon me.
- Sitting around the table with the family is the most important part of my week. It is more important than work, school, or even ministry. What a wonderful gift from God to be able to enjoy a sweet time of fellowship around the table with His provision of food in front of us. We talked. We prayed. We laughed. There is nothing more important than the family dinner table.
- Forgiveness is sweet. Waiting 21 years for that meal was well worth the wait! You see forgiveness is not to forget but to no longer hold something against someone. Frances’ willingness to buy the ribs, fix them, and eat them with the family was an indication to me that she no longer held my statement against me. Many families today are merely existing in the same house and really do not have a home. I want to always have a home! Home is where forgiveness reigns!