Matthew 6:19 ESV — “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
Are your good dishes just sitting in a box somewhere gathering dust? Or maybe a china cabinet, so everyone can look at them admiringly but not able to touch them for fear they might break? Is there a reason you do not use the good dishes? Do you treasure these dishes above the ones who are you first ministry?
My Grandmother’s Good Dishes
My grandmother gave all the grand daughters a set of china when we got married. She did this because it was important to her to have nice dishes for big family meals throughout the year and especially holidays. This tradition and appreciation for a beautiful table, passed down to my dad. Just the other day my mom mentioned how much my dad appreciated a nicely set table. It is one of the things she remembers about him. I think that was partly why she chose to use the good china every holiday. It was one of those things that brought joy into our household.
As a result, I remember as a kid using the “good china” during these special days. We always used them at Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now, all sorts of memories come flooding back when I see them. They are a gold rimmed china, my dad bought overseas. Because they were so precious, I remember being surprisingly careful with them for being so young. Even now, they still have tremendous meaning to me as well as my brother.
After the meal, it was up to my brother and me to wash these dishes by hand since my mom had prepared the meal and set the table so immaculatley. Again, we did this with thoughtful vigilance, ensuring that each piece was handled with care not to be chipped or broken.
Therefore, when I became an adult with my own family, I began doing the same thing. I pulled out the china my grandmother gave me and began using it on holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. We always set a nice table. It took little more effort than using our usual dishes but added meaning and memories for my family.
Discovering Family Connections “The Good Dishes”
Years later, during a move, I pulled out a tea cup and saucer that I my grandmother had given me. While it was not from the set it was given, I felt drawn to this simple cup and suacer. I decided to look the pattern of this cup and saucer up online. It was Royal Albert old country rose. To make it more exciting, the pieces that I had were from the first year that pattern was produced, in the early 1960s. I read all about it. I was especially excited to find that I could purchase pieces of that pattern now and start my own set of what had been my grandmothers china set at one time. And so, this began a new journey for me.
Above all, this little china obsession caused me to feel a new connection with my grandmother. She was part Canadian and loved her tea time. I remember her using good china for her tea.
Now, over the last few years, I have been recieving pieces of Old Country rose china every year at Christmas as well as my Birthday. And every time I use my Old Country Rose, I think of my grandmother and the legacy she left behind.
I think of how she would have her mid day tea in a lovely cup. And so I at times will do the same. Because she loved her china, her son, my father grew to have an appriciation for a lovely table. Finally, i think of how my mother picked up on his appriciation for a lovely table and made sure to use the “Good dishes” every Thanksgiving and Christmas.
20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
We only have one chance to show our love to our family. Only one chance to build memories. So, why not pull out and use the good dishes, the china, a little more often. I wish I had done this more than just the holidays.
Now, I’m not saying to give your one of a kind, million dollar china to a 2 year old. Rather, find a way to use the good dishes and make holidays and other days special. There is always a stack of china at the thrift store you can buy or even an estate sale. Maybe this would be a little less stressful to you. But, if your children are older, trust them with the dishes you charish and let them gain an appriciation for how very special they are.
My mother gave me a great example of this when I was maybe in middle school. I had just come home from school and went to get a piece of cake. The cake was on her depression glass cake plate. I do not remember exactly how it happened, but I broke the depression glass plate. I remember the wonderful grace my mother showed me when all I rememer her saying was, “that’s ok, you were hungry”. This came back to my many times in my mothering
Once a Month Family Night
Plan a night, maybe a once a month family night. Set a lovely table with china, glass cups, real silverware. Add some nicely folded napkins and table cloth as well as candles and you have it made.
If your kids are old enough to follow written directions, let them fold fancy folded napkins. They will be excited to do the folding and show mom what a great job they can do.
Right now, during quarantine, we have been using our Old Country Rose china on Sunday mornings, when we meet in the den for worship The pictures below are from recent Sundays.
Below, I added a youtube video from Point of grace singing a song I used to love, “How You Live”. I hope it encourages you to live with abundance.
21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also
Where is Your Treasure
So, what are you saving your good dishes for? You can not take them to heaven. But you can take your family. Use your good dishes to cultivate memories and warm feelings. Let your family see the abundance that Christ wants to pour out on us as His children. For that very reason, pull your dishes out of the china cabinet or whatever box they may be in, give them a good wash and start planning your special night. If we are still in quarantine, use them Sunday morning whether you are having donuts or a full breakfast. It will be fun.
Set the table with a table cloth and if you do not have one, use a top sheet or go to the thrift store. Set a candle in the middle, set the dishes and napkins then make a low stress meal to go with it. Finally, this is not about perfection it is about having peace and making memories. Having time to pray and play with your families. It is about making sure our treasures are in god and His people.