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Day by Day - Apr. 16, 2009

April 16, 2009

Love Enhances the Taste
by Charles R. Swindoll

Proverbs 15:17

Having led several tours to the Holy Land, it's always interesting to hear people describe their favorite place as we come to the end of our journey. Usually, it's the same place. Most folks say the Sea of Galilee. There is something about its tranquil waters, the beauty of the quiet hills that surround it, but especially its authenticity. There are no religious trappings that have been added to it. No concession stands are located along the water's edge offering trinkets, no church has been erected over it, and there's no charge for standing on its shoreline as you listen to the wind that sometimes whistles across the waves.

Standing there on a misty morning, alone with your thoughts, you can almost see in the distance a group of men hunkered down in a small circle as fresh fish crackle over a charcoal fire. Seven of them are bone tired, having fished all through the night, catching nothing . . . until earlier that morning when a stranger, strolling the shoreline, told them to cast their net on the right side of their boat. With aching muscles and a few groans, they managed to fling the wet, heavy net to the other side---and the result was nothing short of phenomenal. They netted so many fish there was no way they could drag the bulging net into their boat. You later learn that there were 153 large fish in all (if each weighed only 3 1/2 lbs, do the math---that's more than a quarter ton of fish). As you'd expect, all eyes turned from the fish in the net to the Man by the sea. One of the guys whispered to another, "It's the Lord!"

And so it was. They were never more surprised.

According to the inspired account (John 21:1-14), while the men were fishing, Jesus was preparing their breakfast. He had already built a fire at a spot on the shore and was preparing for them fresh broiled fish and some bread, knowing that they would be starving. Out of a heart of love, and with characteristic grace, He smiled as He spoke to them in a low voice, "Come and have breakfast."

And so they did. They were never more satisfied.

What followed is another story for another time. I'm tempted to take you there, but I'm afraid it would result in our missing a valuable truth. So, let's stop here. And let's remind ourselves of the importance of a simple, well-prepared meal . . . and the warm presence of genuine love. What an unbeatable combination! If the home is filled with love, if the meal is prepared by someone who genuinely cares about us, what appears on the table doesn't need to be a banquet feast. Love cancels the need for lavish. A piece of broiled fish and a slice of bread will do.

Solomon underscored this when he wrote a couple of proverbs:

Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox served with hatred. (Proverbs 15:17)

Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it
Than a house full of feasting with strife. (17:1)

How often I'm reminded of the prayer my father used to pray before we would eat a meal together as a family. I'm the youngest in a family of five. Times were hard back then, the great Second World War was at its zenith, and my dad worked long hours in a defense plant. As we sat down together, he would have us bow our heads. After thanking God for our food, almost without exception he would add, "And thank You for the loving hands that have prepared it for us." I'd sneak a peek and notice when he said that, he always reached over and took my mother's hand and squeezed it. He adored her. The meals she served were neither elaborate nor expensive, but they were prepared well by her hands with a lot of love in her heart mixed into each recipe. They're both gone now, but the memory is as fresh in my mind as the broiled fish Jesus once served along the shores of the beautiful Sea of Galilee.

Be sure to add that all-important ingredient when you prepare a meal for your family or friends. It's amazing how love enhances the taste.

Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.

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