Almost three years ago, I had foot surgery to repair a break from 18 years before. It was the kind of surgery that required them to break my foot in three places, insert four titanium screws, and slice my calf muscle. Then I was told not to walk on it for 14 weeks. My church family rallied around me, and I had meals for three weeks; then they took a break and then more came. Some of the best were the calls that came around 3 pm, “We are bringing dinner over, be there about 5:00!” I know the feeling of relief, comfort, and love that comes when someone makes a meal for you.
In years past, nothing struck fear into my heart as much as the request or the need to make a meal for someone else. My thought process would follow this line of thinking: “What could I possibly make for this family? I am sure they would not like anything I made. I am not that great of a cook. Oh dear, what if they get food poisoning from my cooking?” Is it not like the Wicked One to plant seeds of fear that causes us not to try? I, however, would like to encourage you to get into the business of making meals for others. For a woman who is going through a hard time, a surgery, or a busy mom who is sick, nothing is a greater balm to the weary soul than knowing someone else is bringing dinner to your home for your family. Nothing tastes as good as something someone else has prepared.
The following are some quick tips that I have found helpful:
- You + a friend – Get a group of friends together and divide the meal up. One lady does the main dish, one lady can do salad, paper goods and some type of bread, and one lady makes a dessert.
- Get intel – If you don’t know the family personally find someone that does ask for: any allergies, any food they don’t like, and how many people will be there.
- Always make extra – If it is just for 2 or 3 people, double it. Find out how many people are going to be there for the meal, and make extras. Do you know what is almost as good as someone making a meal for you? Leftovers!
- Think breakfast – It is a small add on, but always include a breakfast “something.” Either make a batch of muffins or pick up some fresh fruit and bagels. Most grocery stores have bakeries where you could pick up a breakfast bread. Pair that with some yogurt. Just go the extra mile.
- Recipe Box – Keep track of the meals that you make that people really seem to enjoy and keep those ingredients on hand. Sometimes you get a day’s advance notice, and sometimes you get several hours.
- Leave it there – Always send the food in disposable containers. (I’ve taken to having the Costco aluminum trays on hand.) Send meals in things that can be tossed. If you must use Tupperware, tell the family you never want to see it again.
- Count on me – Tell your pastor’s wife or deacon’s wife, that they can count on you or your group to make a meal. This will be a huge encouragement to them, and this will always give you more advanced notice of upcoming needs.
- Think ahead – Be sensitive to the events of the church calendar and watch when staff members might need a meal. For example, a youth pastor and his wife after a youth conference and especially teen camp would love a meal or two; your pastor’s family after a trip or a staff member returning from a funeral would enjoy a meal.
Because my family and I were on the receiving end of meals, I know firsthand what a blessing this can be. Often when I get a chance to make a meal, I end up making a double or triple portion of whatever my family is eating that night. Now that my daughters are older, they help with the whole process. Hopefully, I am teaching them the importance of serving others. Trust me when I say that whatever you make, the family will enjoy. The family will love your cooking. You are a good cook, and I am sure no one will get food poisoning! Who can you make a meal for?
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Mrs. Chung grew up around the work of the ministry and now has the privilege to teach at the North Valley Baptist Schools. She and her husband faithfully teach young people and are a vital asset to the ministry of NVBC.