In an earlier post, I shared my desire to get to know my neighbors. What better way than to invite them over for a meal? Easier said than done. At the thought of having guests, my mind begins churning and stressing over every little detail - is our house presentable? what kind of food should I serve? It has to be something impressive and, of course, delicious. Maybe I need to get some new napkins... New salad bowl? Serving platter?...
Upon listening to the sermon on Sunday that dived into the importance of humility in neighboring, I was humbled beyond words. It begged me to ask the question, "why do I want to love my neighbors?".
Perhaps it's out of pride, to feel good about myself, or to gain something in return. I shamefully acknowledge that I can't completely disclaim any one of these reasons. Part of me wants to show my neighbors and give them the false notion that I have everything under control. That my house is always sparkling and my food always tastes amazing. My hair is always combed and I wear cute clothes all the time. Perhaps it's bc I want more than anything to gain favor in God's eyes even though I know all too well that I'm saved not through my works but by grace and grace alone.
But really, in the midst of all this, my heart yearns for genuine relationships. Genuine. No false pretenses. This means I shouldn't feel ashamed to show the real me. There's no need for me to try so hard to cover up my flaws and put my best face forward. It's just not sustainable and without realizing, feelings of insecurity, jealousy, and competitiveness may brew up. How many times have I been invited to a house that seems like paradise causing me to return home thinking, "what's wrong with my place" when it suited me just fine earlier? I get this urge to turn my place upside down.
So while I won't invite my neighbors to a pig sty, I'm not going to obsess over the little things. I don't want that to deter me from opening up my house, which has been the case for too long. Plus, a messy house may be more inviting, esp for families with children ;). Awesome! I hate cleaning...
As for the food, if I set out to serve a 3 course meal every time we have company over, I can promise you this: no neighbors will be invited after about a month. That kind of attention and energy should be saved for meaningful conversations to be shared at the dining table.
So, instead, I serve a humble meal. How about a Brie, Fig & Pear Panini! Anything with melted cheese between 2 slices of buttered bread is bound to be a hit, no?
I happily opened the jar of fig jam that I've had specially tucked away for the past 3 months. That alone makes this panini extra special. But combined with sweet pear slices, fresh and spicy arugula, and cheese? This is one gourmet sandwich, as the Hungryman put it.
I'm curious...Do you invite your neighbors over for a meal? If so, what do you like to serve? Do you sweat the little details like me or do you just go with the flow?
- 8 slices of whole wheat bread or other rustic bread
- 3 Tbs butter
- 8 Tbs fig preserves
- 8 oz. brie cut into thin slices
- 2 Asian pears cored and sliced
- Baby Arugula
- Heat a panini machine or a grill pan over medium heat.
- Butter one side of each slice of bread.
- Spread fig preserves on unbuttered side of one slice. Layer with pear, brie, and arugula. Place other piece of bread on top and put in panini maker or grill pan. If using a grill pan, place something heavy on top of sandwich and press down until cheese begins to melt.
- Repeat with rest of sandwiches. Slice and serve immediately while cheese is warm.