Andrea O Smith
Just Bring Chips
Within the first year of marriage, my husband and I bought a house in his home town in central Texas. He had a solid career and I was looking for a job since we had just moved. We had very little in the way of finances. Trying to feed the student loan monster took up a great chunk of our resources. (Bless my saintly husband for taking me on with a negative dowry.) He was quickly reacquainted with old friends and family and I scrambled to remember the names of these new-to-me faces.
One Friday evening, we were invited to have dinner with a group of friends. Later we would affectionately call ourselves the Friday Night Munch Bunch. They were serving steak and everyone was supposed to bring a side dish. When I asked what would be best to contribute to this potluck, the host said, “Maybe bring some chips.” I was so relieved. We had such a tight grocery budget adding anything out of the ordinary would have been a real stretch.
We showed up with our measly store brand potato chips. During those meals, the fellowship settled my nervous heart. I had moved many times before, but this was different. These people loved and respected my husband and his family and I didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize their reputation. They were so kind and even invited us to go to their church. Those hot evenings were where some of the best friends and memories were made.
Week after week, we showed up with our crinkly bags of greasy potato goodness. Of course, we felt shame and guilt that it was our only offering. Our friends never made us feel that way, but it was a weekly internal struggle.
Many years and a few moves later, we were in a different part of life and, yes, tax bracket. We invited over a young couple to eat with another group of friends. They asked what they could bring. This time it was our turn to furnish the entrée, so we recommended they just bring chips. “Really? Are you sure that’s all,” they inquired. We explained how we would love those chips! It used to be our duty, but we were more than happy to pass the baton to the next up and coming young couple.
Friends, we can get so caught up in our inadequacies and insecurities that we forget that we don’t need to bring THE best to the table. We need only bring OUR best. There may be a situation where you’re bringing the chips. You don’t have to have a Doctorate in Theology to greet people at the church doors. You don’t need a Master’s degree in childhood education to hold babies in the nursery. Bring those chips! They round out the meal! If you have been through something difficult and made it through the other side having learned valuable lessons along the way, bring that casserole. Maybe you have gone through seminary school, feed that steak to your ministry with joy.
There are a plethora of phenomenal stories in the Bible where people contributed seemingly small offerings that turned out to be major plays. Rahab gave refuge to the spies (Joshua 2:1-24) and not only contributed to the victory for the Israelites, but changed the course of her life and was in the bloodline of Jesus himself! Zaccheus offered his home for Jesus to dine and ended up repaying those he had wronged four times what he took from them and gave half his wealth to the poor! (Luke 19:1-10) I would surmise that changed the trajectory for a lot of families. Of course the best story that reflects the miraculous ways God can use very little was the one of a boy offering his two fish and five loaves of bread that was blessed by the Creator and fed a multitude with food to spare. (John 6:1-15)
God always uses the minuscule ways we are able to serve and give to make a gigantic impact. Trust Him with your little and you will see great and unthinkable blessings. Please, dear one, don’t feel shy or guilty for not being enough. The Lord is providing the feast! Just bring chips.