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Share the BountyFinding God's Grace through the Spirit of Hospitality
By Benita Long
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2012 Benita Long
All right reserved.
Chapter OneGreet those who love us in the faith [Titus 3:15]
Our table is set! It is spread with God's gracious plenty, the brotherly love of Jesus Christ and the warm hospitality of the Holy Spirit. And you, dear reading friend, are invited to actively participate in the feast that follows. "An Excellent Way," based on 1 Corinthians 12:36, has been prepared to assist you. It will illuminate the numerous occasions we all have to use the gift of hospitality as a means of receiving and serving others. As you peruse these pages, prepare yourself to be pleasantly surprised by a new angle of vision. Hospitality will be presented as encouragement, comfort, welcome, and accommodation. It will be reflected in celebrations of family and friendship. It will be shown to offer opportunity to pass on traditions and in alternative fashion to forge new frontiers of cultural acceptance. It will call for prayer.
Practice hospitality ... not only to those who are joined to us by friendship or kinship but to all people with whom we are joined by nature, to the end that we might imitate our Creator.... Not only are spiritual provisions and heavenly gifts received through the bounty of God, but even earthly and bodily resources issue from his largess. He will have every right to ask for an accounting of these things since he gave them more by way of trusting them to be spent rather than handing them over to be kept. [Leo 1, 400–460]
It is our desire that in every hospitable gesture you will find some measure of hospes renit, Christus venit, "when the guest comes, Christ comes". This radiant symbiosis of meaning and metaphor can be found in every corner of both the Old and the New Testaments. The patriarch Abraham, whose life was the unwritten law, sat at his door waiting for visitors and ran to greet them. He offered them the finest of his provisions [Genesis 18:1–8]. The widow of Zarephath's receiving Elijah [1 Kings 17:8–16] and the Shunammite's response to Elisha [2 Kings 4:9] provide but a few examples of the precedent that Jesus would continue and His followers would emulate.
We likewise have ample opportunity to entertain "angels" [Hebrews 13:2] and are fortunate in having two of Christianity's most powerful disciples to stand as witnesses. Above, the first Roman pontiff to be designated as "the Great" offers eloquent exhortation, and below, in characteristically robust style, the leader of the Protestant Reformation concurs.
We should say, Oh Lord Jesus, come to me; enjoy my bread, my wine, my silver and gold. How well it has been invested by me when I invest it in You.... Those who are hospitable are not receiving a human being but are receiving the Son of God Himself. [Martin Luther, 1483–1546]
With covenant promise, in the new humanity of Christ we will be brought into the oikos, the household of God. Is this not a moving incentive for human extension of the same? San Benedetto da Norcia, St Benedict [480–547], instructed monastic residents to say, "Thanks be to God," each time they opened the door to a guest. What greater honor can there be?
Your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand [Exodus 12:11]
Prepare to share
The message of readiness reflected in our title verse is as valid for God's people today as it was for the ancient Israelites to whom it was first issued. After girding themselves and eating a hastily prepared meal, they were ready to participate in God's promised deliverance from Egypt. The scenario is repeated centuries later by Christ and the disciples whom Jesus instructed to take up their staffs, put on their sandals, and go forth with the new message of deliverance found in God's gospel promise. In nuance unequaled outside of Scripture, the same chapter of Mark gives us a further glimpse of Christ who was so moved with compassion that he willed and facilitated the feeding of thousands, saying, "You give them something to eat" [Mark 6:37]. Biblical narrative abounds with such examples of God's meeting spiritual and physical needs simultaneously. Caring and comfort are often appropriately accompanied by real sustenance for actual people. Recall Job's story.
Then all his brothers, all his sisters, and all those who had been his acquaintances before, came to him and ate food with him in his house; and they consoled him and they comforted him. [Job 42:11]
Such faithful attention is an assurance of constancy and continuity in times of change and reorientation in the lives of others. Comfort is not something we give ... it is something we are. It is a condition of "being with," of strengthening, of standing strong, of forte. Its timeliness is not determined by man but by God, which is why we aspire always to "be ready in season and out of season" [2 Timothy 4:2]. We hope that the images on the next pages will reinforce this idea for you.
The Greek word for compassion translates to mean "another life within" and is related to the word for "womb." What a beautiful blessing it is to accept the joys and challenges of others as our very own. The combined voices of a poet and an apostle are here to edify you with stout and sturdy resolve as you prepare to "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" [Romans 12:15].
Wings for the angels, but feet for men! We may borrow the wings to find the way. We may hope, and resolve, and aspire, and pray; But our feet must rise, or we fall again. [Josiah Gilbert Holland, 1819–1881]
How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things. [Romans 10:15]
Prepare to Share
Strawberry Rhubarb Bread Shrimp and Yellow Rice Salad Green Bean and Avocado Salad Fireside Soup Green Apple Chicken Salad Easy Brunswick Stew Baked Fusilli Casserole Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Vinegar Marinade Asparagus Leek Quiche Baked Lamb Stew Peas with Prosciutto
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." [Matthew 5:16]
Strawberry Rhubarb Bread
Makes 2 loaves
3 cups all-purpose flour 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon cinnamon 4 eggs, beaten 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil 1 1/4 cups frozen sliced strawberries 1 1/4 cups frozen chopped rhubarb 1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar 3 tablespoons milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the bread: Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, vegetable oil, strawberries, rhubarb, and pecans. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir gently until blended. Divide the batter evenly between the loaf pans. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the loaves in the pans for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.
For the glaze: Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl. Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled bread.
If you have leftovers, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to a month.
But as for you, brethen, do not grow weary in doing good. [2 Thessalonians 3:13]
Shrimp and Yellow Rice Salad
Serves 6 to 8
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon paprika 1/2 teaspoon sugar 2 ounces apple cider vinegar 6 ounces canola or corn oil
1 (10-ounce) package yellow rice 1 cup canned quartered artichoke hearts 1 cup halved grape tomatoes 1/4 cup sliced pimento-stuffed olives 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper 1/4 cup chopped green onions 1/4 cup sliced celery 1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed 1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled, cooked, and cut in pieces if large
For the vinaigrette: Combine the mustard, pepper, paprika, sugar, and vinegar in a small bowl. Whisk in the oil to blend. Set aside.
For the salad: Cook the rice according to package directions for firm rice. Moisten with about 1/4 cup vinaigrette. Place the rice in a large salad bowl in the refrigerator to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, olives, red pepper, onions, celery, peas, and shrimp and stir into the cooled rice. Pour 1/2 cup of the vinaigrette over the salad and gently mix.
Reserve the remaining vinaigrette in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Remoisten with the reserved dressing just before serving and place the salad in a large salad bowl.
No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. [Aesop, 620-564 BC]
Green Bean and Avocado Salad
Serves 6 to 8
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar 1/2 cup canola oil
1 pound tender young green beans 1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced into rings 1 Hass avocado, for garnish juice of 1 lemon
For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl combine the sugar and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved. Whisk in the oil. Set aside.
For the salad: Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and cook until tender crisp. Plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and hold the color. Drain. Slice into bite-size pieces.
In a salad bowl combine the green beans, tomatoes, kidney beans, olives, and onion. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and chill for several hours.
Right before serving, slice the avocado into cubes and dip in the lemon juice to preserve the color. Top the salad with the avocado cubes and serve immediately.
Note: This is a healthy update of an old favorite from the 1970s.
If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. [Booker Taliaferro Washington, 1856–1915]
I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve. [Albert Schweitzer, 1875–1965]
Perfect for a cold winter evening! Serve with crusty bread.
Makes 15 (one-cup) servings
1 pound hot Italian sausage 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1 cup chopped mild onion 1 green pepper, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and chopped 4 cups chopped cooked chicken 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans 1 (15-ounce) can black beans 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves (1/3 teaspoon dried) 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves (1/3 teaspoon dried) 6 cups chicken broth 1/2 cup red wine, optional salt and pepper to taste
Remove the sausage from the casing and chop it into small pieces. Sauté the meat in the oil in a 4-quart stock pot. Remove the meat from the pan and sauté the onion, green pepper, and garlic until tender. Return the sausage to the pot and add the potatoes, chicken, beans, tomatoes, bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary. Add the chicken broth and wine and simmer about 4 hours.
Salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thin, leave the top off the pot the last few minutes to thicken. Take out the bay leaf before serving.
Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm. [Helen Keller, 1880–1968]
Green Apple Chicken salad
Serves 8 to 10
3/4 cup good quality mayonnaise 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons curry powder 2 tablespoons fruit chutney, chopped
4 cups chopped cooked chicken 2 crisp green apples (such as Granny Smith) cut in small pieces, not peeled 1 cup chopped celery 4 chopped scallions, white and green parts 1/3 cup dried cranberries 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
For the dressing: In a small bowl combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder, and chutney. Set aside.
For the salad: In a salad bowl combine the chicken, apples, celery, scallions, and cranberries. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well. Chill for several hours. Top with the walnuts just before serving.
Note: This is even better the next day.
I expect to pass through this world but once.
Therefore if there is any kindness I can show or any good thing I can do for any fellow human being, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I will not pass this way again.
All that is harmony for thee, O Universe, is in harmony with me as well. Nothing that comes at the right time for thee is too early or too late for me. Everything is fruit to me that thy seasons bring, O Nature. All things come of thee, have their being in thee, and return to thee. [Marcus Aurelius, last of the Good Emperors, AD 121–180]
Easy Brunswick Stew
4 large bone-in chicken breasts (about 4 pounds) 2 pounds pulled pork barbecue meat 1 1/2 cups chopped white onion sautéed in 2 tablespoons butter 3 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes in puree 6 ears of fresh corn, cut from cob (about 3 cups frozen or canned) 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen butter peas or butter beans, partially cooked 1 cup chili sauce (Heinz preferred) 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce 1 to 2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot place the chicken breasts and cover with 6 cups of water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the meat is very tender. Remove the breasts from the pan, debone, and chop the chicken into small pieces. Pour the broth into a 1 1/2- to 2-gallon stock pot and add the chicken, pork, onions, tomatoes, corn, peas, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Tabasco sauce. Simmer about 45 minutes until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: This stew is better when it's made a day ahead to allow the flavors to blend. It also freezes beautifully.
What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for each other? [George Eliot, 1819–1880]
Spring passes and one remembers innocence Summer passes and one remembers exuberance Autumn passes and one remembers reverence Winter passes and one remembers perseverance. [Yoko Ono, 1933–]
Baked Fusilli Casserole
Serves 10 to 12
1 pound ground beef 1 cup chopped white onion 8 ounces sliced mushrooms 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 clove garlic, minced 1 (15-ounce) can chopped tomatoes 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste 3/4 cup water 2 bay leaves 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried) 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried) salt and pepper to taste
4 cups dry fusilli pasta (about a pound), cooked and drained 15 ounces ricotta cheese 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mixed Italian cheeses or a mixture of shredded mozzarella, provolone, Asiago, and Parmesan cheeses
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the meat sauce: In a large skillet brown the beef, onions, and mushrooms in the olive oil until the meat is no longer pink. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper. Turn the heat to low and cook covered for about 30 minutes. Stir frequently. Check for seasonings and remove the bay leaves.
For the pasta layer: In a small bowl combine the cooked fusilli, ricotta cheese, parsley, and Parmesan cheese.
To assemble: In a 3-quart casserole place a thin layer of the meat sauce. Cover with the fusilli mixture and top with the remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with the two cups of cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes until hot and bubbly.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. [Winston Churchill, 1874–1965]
Pork Tenderloin with balsamic Vinegar Marinade
Serves 4 to 6
1/4 cup red balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary cracked pepper to taste 2 (1 pound) pork tenderloins
In a small bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, honey, and mustard. Stir in the olive oil, rosemary, and pepper. Place the pork in a gallon-size plastic bag and pour the marinade in the bag. Seal tightly and marinate several hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat a grill to medium heat. Remove the pork from the bag. Pour the marinade into a small saucepan and warm over medium heat.
Grill the tenderloins about 20 minutes or until desired doneness, basting frequently with the marinade. Let rest about 10 minutes before slicing.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours, your eyes are the eyes through which Christ's compassion is to look out to the earth, yours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good and yours are the hands by which He is to bless us now. [St. Teresa of Avila, 1515–1582]
Now therefore, let your hands be strengthened, and be valiant. [2 Samuel 2:7]
Asparagus Leek Quiche
Serves 6 to 8
1 (9-inch) frozen deep-dish pie shell, unbaked 6 slices bacon 1 large leek, sliced 1 pound asparagus, rough ends removed 2 cups grated aged Swiss cheese 3 large eggs, beaten 1 1/2 cups half-and-half salt and white pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Fill a large pot with water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Fill the pie shell with pie weights or dried beans and bake about 7 minutes. Remove the weights and bake another 4 to 5 minutes until light brown. Remove the pie shell from the oven and set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
Excerpted from Share the Bounty by Benita Long Copyright © 2012 by Benita Long. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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