Potluck Heaven

 

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus,” (Galatians 3:28 NIV).

I recall as a young child time spent rocking on my grandma’s front porch and listening to the ladies from the missions society gossip about the heathens whose church was across the street from theirs. It always puzzled me because the heathens seemed like such nice people and their church looked just like Grandma’s. As far as I could tell, there was no difference. Both believed in Jesus, wore funny hats on Sundays, and sang the same hymns. And both had great potluck dinners.

How did the church come up with the notion of the infamous potluck supper? As best I can tell, it all began in the fifteenth chapter of Matthew. The first gathering was a great success as Jesus served more than 4000 men, not to mention a few thousand women and children, and had leftovers to boot. All this came from one little covered dish. Actually, it was a covered basket. This was, after all, before the advent of Corning ware.

Later, the Baptists followed His lead, and the next thing you know, all denominations were celebrating a multiplicity of occasions with every variety of casserole known to man.

But the twenty-first-century church isn’t being caught simply serving up fish-and-chips. We have taken the notion of breaking bread and run with it. Not only do we break bread, but we crunch fried chicken, munch fresh veggies, scoop casseroles, slice pies, cut cakes, and sip coffees.

We chew the fat while chewing our food and extend the right hand of fellowship while our left hand extends the serving spoon. I’d say that covered-dish dinners are one of the most cherished rituals in the church today.

One Christmas our Sunday school had a potluck dinner at the McMillians’ home. Our class consisted of 150 people in a church of 1600. Because it’s a little difficult to be intimate with 150 congregants on a Sunday morning, the Christmas party was a great time to chat with people you didn’t normally have a chance to speak to otherwise. And because people tend to sit in the same seats each week, I’d never actually had a good look at about half of the class. The Christmas party was designed to remedy that problem.

Marshall and Denise’s home was beautifully decorated with holly, spruce, and magnolia clippings. It was filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of the season as well as the incoming aroma of the many delicious prepared meals. In an effort to provide crowd control and proper traffic flow, our host, Marshall, had posted directional signs around the house. One sign read “COATS,” with an arrow pointing up the stairs to their daughter’s room. Another read “HOT FOOD,” with an arrow pointing toward the kitchen.

Marshall was doing a great job at his post as official greeter and traffic police.

“Hello, how are you?” he said, greeting two ladies and one man as they made their way up the front steps with dishes in hand. “You can take your food into the kitchen and then follow the arrows up the stairs to the coat room.”

The obedient threesome followed directions well and then headed to the name tag table. But something didn’t seem quite right.

“Marshall,” I said, “who are those people? I don’t recognize them.”

“I don’t recognize them either, Sharon. But our class is so big. Maybe they sit on the other side of the room and we just haven’t noticed them before.”

They looked as though they could have been one of us. They seemed to know the drill. But something still felt strange.

“Just the same, go find out who they are,” I urged.

Marshall approached the trio, who were now looking a little bewildered themselves. “Excuse me. You are here for the Sunday school Christmas party, aren’t you?”

“Yes,” they answered. However, their yes sounded more like a question than an answer. Then they asked, “This is the Sunday school class for First Baptist Church, isn’t it?”

“No, ma’am,” Marshall answered. “This is the party for Forrest Hill. You folks are at the wrong place.”

Quickly the three embarrassed Baptists reclaimed their food, once again followed the arrows to the coat room, and hightailed it out of the McMillians’ house to another Sunday school covered-dish gathering a few doors down.

Won’t heaven be an interesting place? One big, perpetual, brightly-lit celebration of new birth. No covered dish required because God will sit us down at His banqueting table which He has prepared for us.

One great thing about this party will be that when the Methodists stumble into a room full of Presbyterians, no one will feel out of place. The Episcopalians will be chewing the fat with the Primitive Baptists, the Assemblies of God will be singing with the Lutherans, and the Church of God folks will be dancing with the Congregationalists.

And when each new saint arrives, we’ll hear, “Welcome! Come on in. Take your coat off and stay a while—an eternity, for that matter. You’re definitely in the right place.”

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, forgive us for how we have separated ourselves as believers. Help us to see each brother and sister in Christ as dearly loved children of God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

What do You Think? 

Isn’t heaven going to be fun? I can hardly wait!

Wikipedia tells me that there are around 41,000 different Christian (or so-called Christian) denominations. That’s a lot. Oh my.

Did you know that one of the pillars of Girlfriends in God is to cross generational, racial, and denominational boundaries to join the Body of Christ together as believers?

Today, I want to encourage you to memorize today’s truth. It is important.

And while you’re at it, here’s another one that is from my heart to yours: 1 Corinthians 2:2: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”  Leave a comment and tell me what that means to you as a Christian.

Want More?

Do you love a good story? I do! Stories tug at the heart and open the eyes to the truths of Scripture in a way only God can do. I have complied 100 of my favorite stories and devotions into one book titled, Listening to God Day-by-Day. It is the perfect book for a quick pick-me-up before you start your busy day or a sweet dreams closure before you turn off the bedside lamp at night. And here’s some good news, this book is specially priced for the month of June. Get one for yourself, and we’ll include another free for you to share. It won’t show up on your receipt, but we’ll make sure it is included in your package.

 

24 Responses to Potluck Heaven

  1. romeldia June 27, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”: As I grow in my faith in Jesus Christ, it puts to rest all of my worries and concerns about today and tomorrow and yesterday. His word allows us to rest in the fact that he paid for it all so that we will have eternal life–a life that is beyond our wildest imagination. We worry so much. All we need to know is that Christ paid for it all. No worries. It won’t do anything for us. Seek first the kingdom of God.

  2. Debbie June 27, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Your post reminded me of this prayer of St. Patrick:
    Christ be with me, Christ within me,
    Christ behind me, Christ before me,
    Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
    Christ to comfort and restore me.
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
    Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
    Christ in hearts of all that love me,
    Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

    In other words, Christ is everything and in everything. With Him as our focus, there are no divisions. Won’t Heaven be the wonderful blending of people worldwide who adore our Lord? Let the praises ring!

  3. Janice Bentley June 27, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    Colossians 3:28 to me means that even when I disagree on something like a political view, I am still one with my brothers and sisters in Christ. The thread that binds us is Christ.

  4. Pat June 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified”:
    To me, that means that when it comes to sharing with someone about Christ, I leave behind my “pedigree”, my background, my history, and pay no attention to those things about the person I am with. My complete focus is on Jesus, and I won’t be distracted by anything else that may hinder that other person from seeing Him in me.

  5. Cheryl Spencer June 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    I just love all you ladies. The scripture verse means to me 1 Corinthians 2:2 that it is Him alone that I please and that is the only identifying mark I have is in Him, Jesus Christ. I love your devotional and like I heard before “when we get to Heaven we will all lose our “tags”…I love that!

  6. kathy June 27, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    To know I am in Christ is all I need to know. He fills me with Joy and Peace. I am resolved to know nothing because God knows everything and will fill me with understanding. I am being made complete in Christ.

  7. Ellen Lukens June 27, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    I Corth 2; 2 What it means to me that without not Christ dying on the cross for our sins where would we be. God had the greatest plan when he sent His Son to die for us. So that we can live eternally with him. Praise God!!! My parents are both in heaven now, an what a day that will be when i see them , most of all see Jesus himself. My brothers are not saved I really been praying for them. I even had a chance with 2 of my brothers an talk with them about the Lord. They know what to do because all of kids had a wonderful Godly Mother who was a great prayer warrior. My Dad didn’t get saved until just a few months before he died. So it would be wonderful that all us kids will walk thru the Heavenly Gates an see my parents with big smiles on there faces when we get there. So please pray for my brothers that they will get saved. God is working i know, I he is. Pray for me so that I can say the right words an that they will have a listening ear to what I have to say. God Bless!!!! What a day that will be when were all in Heaven!!!!

  8. Jeanette Larrimore June 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

    Sharon, if we, as Christ followers, would determine to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified, there would be no need for all the church rules that constrain and restrict us in our service to Him. Sometimes I think church rules actually quench the Holy Spirit and His word tells us specifically NOT to quench or grieve the Holy Spirit. I love my church, but I love Jesus more!! Anyone out there agree?

  9. Lyn June 27, 2013 at 1:52 pm #

    As I am somewhat new at looking up scripture and reading what others have defined from this verse, I believe that it means that in Christ, he is all we need to know. He will take care of the rest. We are all one in him.

  10. Sandie June 27, 2013 at 1:54 pm #

    This means to me that it does not matter how you worship Jesus, but that you believe in him as God , in that he was crucified died buried rose three days later ascended and his coming back, he is your savior because you are a sinner that needs saving

  11. Paula June 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm #

    Paul put his personal feelings aside and talk about Jesus and only the things of God. Sometimes we get caught up on self and forget that we are not to deliver our message but the message of God.

  12. Connie Williams June 27, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    I Cor. 2:2 spoke to my heart the song, “Christ is ALL..He’s everything to me. Christ is ALL.. He rules the land and sea. Christ is ALL…without Him nothing would be. Christ is ALL…All my All…this world to me!

    My joy in sorrow; my hope for tomorrow
    He’s everything, everything to me. Food on the table, I know He’s able. He’s everything, everything to me. He saved me, He Raised me, He healed me, He delivered me. I tried Him, I trust Him, I love Him, I love Him! Hallelujah!

    Oh and Jeanette, I TOO AGREE!

  13. Bonnie June 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

    To me, it means that I am to concentrate on Christ and the sharing of His gospel with everyone. It means not getting into petty arguments about what denomination is the “true” denomination of the church. I am to think about Christ dying on the cross for my sins, and loving him so much that I can’t keep what He has done for me to myself. I am to share the love of Christ with others, while loving them as Christ loves me.

  14. Christine June 27, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    This scripture says so much to me about having a oneness in our spirits because of our love of the Lord Jesus Christ!

  15. Tonja Bertog June 27, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

    I absolutely LOVE this blog! And I am so thankful that when we reach Heaven, there will be NO denominations, as we are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ! Thank you for another great read, Sharon!

  16. Mayo Saldana June 27, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    Hi Sharon!

    My name is Mayo and I’m a Mexican born again christian. Growing up in Mexico is a lot different than in the States or any other predominantly protestant country because 80% of the population in Mexico is catholic. I grew up catholic so to me, christian denominations meant nothing, they were all just part of a big blob of “hermanos separados” (distant brothers) as protestants are referred to by the catholic community here in Mexico. When I gave my life to Jesus I was attending a christian church, that is all I knew, I had no idea it was a non denominational church because to me denominations meant nothing and still they don’t. I thank God for my upbringing that taught me only to differentiate between the people who were like me at the moment and the “Jesus freaks” (yay us!). It made everything easier to understand when I was ready to hear the word of God.

    1 Corinthians 2:2
    For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

    As long as Jesus is the center does it really matter what we call ourselves? My best friends are Assemblies of God missionaries, I attended a Presbyterian Church while living in a certain city, Dutch Evangelic while in another, now I live in a different city and attend a non denominational one, my mother was saved at a Pentecostal church and I’ve been to Worship Central training courses with a dozen other denominations. We are all the same in our love for Jesus and our desire in walking with Him. Unified diversity functioning as one body.

    Blessings from Guadalajara City, Mexico.

  17. Kate June 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    To me, that means, I don’t need to know anything else except the fact that Jesus died for me. It doesn’t matter whether we sing hymns, or modern choruses, swing incense or dance in the aisles…none of the picky little details matter at all really. The only thing that matters is Jesus and the fact that He died for each and every one of us!! Jesus looks at our hearts.

  18. Sheila L. June 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    1 Corinthians 2:2 is telling me that Jesus us all that matters. There are no differences between those who love Jesus and are saved by Him. I am learning new things about God everyday and I am thankful that I can do this. /
    The world needs to know that Jesus did not care what religion you are or are not. He just wants to let us know how much He loves us, all of us. We need to let the world know about Jesus, that is what He wants us to do.
    I am really looking forward to heaven, where there is no difference between us. I can hardly wait to meet Jesus and know the joy of His love for us.

  19. Felicia Fisher June 27, 2013 at 7:03 pm #

    As I read the scripture for today I was gently reminded about a conversation that my daughter and I had yesterday about the Supreme Courts ruling on same sex marriage. I was telling her that I didn’t personally agree with the decision. Just as Christ has said that we are all one in Him, I should not try to put my beliefs on someone else. We are all required to love one another as we love ourselves. Today’s scripture just helped me to see that all the more. I am new to your site, but not new in Christ. I thank God that there are people out here like you all to GENTLY remind us of what we are called to do and that is to LOVE. God Bless.

  20. Sasha June 27, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    All praise and glory be to God and his son Jesus. It’s not about us, it’s all about Jesus and his sacrifice. That is what that verse means to me.

  21. Sistersun June 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    1 Corinthians2 – I have begun to see myself as a Christian first; I just happen to like the worship service of the Catholic Church. Sometimes I go to a Baptist Churches. I have also visited Methodist, Presbyterian and COGIC churches. I was born an raised in the the Catholic Church, left and came back. There is a sizable dash between left and came back. After my experience with the aforementioned denominations, I noted that we all worshiped the same God and espouse the same basic principals of the faithful of God and believers in Christ, His son. That was when I said to myself that the way in which one chooses to worshiped God is the way in which we are comfortable; our specific ways of worship should not be questioned. If we are see ourselves as Christians, isn’t that all that is important? If we are doing as Jesus directed us, isn’t that all this is important? If we live and breathe the power of the Holy Spirit in all that we do, isn’t that enough. It is for me, I am a Christian first, a follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ and that is all I need to be.

  22. Sharise June 28, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    to me that means all i see and am concerned about is that we both know Jesus Christ…

  23. Melody June 28, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    ” For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him Crucified”
    To me this means we have to stop being busybodies, judging others faith but we should rather seek to know Christ the more and we should strive to see Him in others .

  24. Tina July 2, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    JESUS, JESUS, JESUS….nothing else matters. My family name, the denomination that I below to, my job…none of that will get me to Heaven. Only through JESUS and me accepting his sacrifice for my sins will get me there….OH WHAT A DAY THAT WILL BE!!!!

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