Have you ever gone on a God Hunt? A God Hunt begins when you teach yourself to look for God’s hand at work in the everyday occurrences of your life. Here’s one of my personal God Hunt Sightings:
“Don’t your dishes get dusty?” asked a friend as she watched me put the just-washed dishes back on the table.
“Probably,” I replied. “But if they do, we just swipe them. And actually David and I just eat around the table, so the settings get washed a couple times a week. However, I am always ready for company. I think a set table says, “Welcome.” It says, “We are waiting for you.” It says, “We are ready.”
This idea came from a friend who also set her table several days before anticipated company arrived; for her, it just made the day of a dinner party much less frantic. Also, a beautiful table put her in the mood for entertaining.
So I took the idea home and this tradition has evolved into a seasonal practice. For each season I set the table with a new centerpiece—the ceramic African guinea hen for autumn, for instance, surrounded by candles and clay pumpkins, artificial pears and persimmons, with field grasses and stem-dried flowers accenting the arrangement. This stays up until after Thanksgiving when we set the Christmas table.
Dinner guests often stay to help us wash dishes. We chat more in the kitchen. David’s role is at the sink, the guests dry dishes, I put away leftover food, and someone else puts the dishes back on the table. It seems to me an economy of function.
Having written a best-selling book on the theology of hospitality and having taught about scriptural hospitality for decades across this country and having practiced hospitality joyfully for the five decades of our married life, I find that a set table says something to everyone who enters our home.
It says to my grandchildren, nine of them so far: It is important that we eat together, tell each other about our lives, pray over the meal, and learn to cook these meals as a team in the kitchen.
It says to my husband: We have this life to share and one of the ways of sharing it well is to sit down to well-prepared meals at a table that is ready for us, no matter how busy the day has been.
It says to younger friends: Yes, you can practice hospitality simply—and Christ will be present as He promised—but you can also take a little effort to make things beautiful. An easy way to do this is to spend a couple hours once a season putting an attractive table together, and it can be attractive without money. All you need is a little time, some dedicated creativity and some intent.
It says to guests: We are really glad to have you in our home. Something special is going to happen around this table. Look! Some effort has been taken to make things pleasant. We are going to connect in significant ways (would we have put all the effort in to make a beautiful table and then be satisfied with superficial conversation?). We are going to invite Christ to sit and dine with us (Look! There are prayer cards at each place.) We are going to leave her warmed by feeling included and accepted and wanted, and the dishes and glasses and silverware and fresh napkins will be placed back on the dining-room table to say again for other friends, “You are welcome here; we have been waiting for you and we are ready.”
The table is always set at our house. It reminds us that God is preparing a banqueting table, the Supper of the Lamb, and that the lights in His house is always on, and the invitation is always ready.
I spy God!
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.