But, of all the feelings stirred by her food's delicious tastes and aromas, the most delicious feeling was the knowledge that she loved me. Every day, as she ladled out heaping helpings of rolls, mashed potatoes, mounds of sticky, white rice--all loaded with gravy, she would say, "Hey, baby, Sister Lee loves you." And, even though she said this to every child who went through that line, you somehow felt you were the most special, perhaps even her favorite.
And, you knew she meant every word. After all, she woke up before 5 a.m. every school-day morning to make sure the poorest children in Kimberly--the ones who qualified for "free lunches" (and breakfasts)--started their school day with a hot, delicious breakfast. She never settled or scrimped--her breakfast buffet included homemade biscuits, hot oatmeal, bacon, sausage, eggs. It was the breakfast of champions. Sister Lee's breakfasts were so delicious that, even those of us whose daddys were too proud to let us get "free lunch," would beg our mamas for the 25 cents that bought you a "ticket" to Sister Lee's breakfast.
These days, when I hear really smart people trying to explain the differences between grace and works, I find myself wishing they could have gone through Sister Lee's lunch line. You see, she didn't wake up before 5 a.m. for the pitiful little salary she made. (If so, we would have had old, dry toast, and no one would have begged their mamas for 25 cents.)
Nor was Sister Lee trying to earn love. She did what she did because she loved--she simply loved Jesus--and her sweet love for Him just flowed out on us, the blessed ones.
I don't know for sure what the "wedding supper" of Jesus is going to be like, but I sure hope it includes Sister Lee's yeast rolls (and maybe even some of her mashed potatoes with gravy).
"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are!...
This is the message you heard from the beginning:
We should love one another....
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue,
but with actions and in truth...
We love because He first loved us."
(1 John 3:1, 11, 18; 4:19, NIV)