As a member of the ward activities committee responsible for ward dinners, I soon learned that after accepting an assignment some people would come through and others would not. If we were planning a dinner, it was important to know who to assign to make the main dish, who to ask to bring side dishes or desserts, and who had better be on the potato chip committee.You see, as long as you have the main dish and the desserts, you can have a successful ward social. Potato chips on the other hand are nice to have, but if they do not show up the ward social is not a disaster.When we profess to be on the Lord’s side, I suspect we need to ask ourselves “Am I on the main dish, side dish or potato chip committee?”
To borrow from D&C 84:109–110 (which in turn, of course, borrows from 1 Corinthians, but we're studying D&C this year so I'll go with that) I think a better perspective is to allow:
...every [dish to] stand in his own office, and labor in his own calling; and let not the [casserole] say unto the [potato chips] it hath no need of the [potato chips]; for without the [potato chips] how shall the body be able to stand?...the body hath need of every member, that all may be edified together, that the system may be kept perfect.
Once upon a time (not too long ago), I signed up to take dinner to someone in the ward and, lo, the very day of my assignment (that, granted, I volunteered for), our breaker box essentially...died...and while we had an electrician make an emergency house call, restoring limited electricity to our house (before they came back to replace/update the breaker box the next day), we couldn't run any major appliances (so the oven, stove, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, etc. were all out of commission).
Using those appliances risked burning our entire house down (I slept well that night, let me tell you).
So we just ordered pizza and sent it to their house.
Like a lousy bag of potato chips...
Or was that a main dish effort? I honestly can't decide. Both? Neither?
I'm going to go with neither.
I was simply a human doing her best under the circumstances (which doesn't look like my best under other circumstances; and which probably doesn't look like your best at all). Ordinarily we do the whole home-cooked meal, with freshly-baked cookies, personally delivered (with hats and a handmade card because we forgot how people socialize and are we over doing this?).
But this other time (years ago now), I was going through a hard time. Our van had just been totaled and my sweet visiting teacher called and said to not worry about a thing because she was going to bring dinner over.
And she did!
She showed up at my front door...with a store-bought, frozen lasagna.
I thanked her for being so thoughtful, then closed the door and crumpled to the floor crying (with laughter and frustration) because...it wasn't just that our van that had been totaled. Our oven also was broken (along with what felt like everything else in our house/life) and we really could have done with a hot'n'ready meal that particular evening. I stuffed the lasagna into our freezer and then I think we probably had peanut butter and jam sandwiches for dinner (because we were poor, had no transportation, and no stove/oven).
So was she a main dish...or a potato chip?
Again, I'm going to go with neither.
She was simply a human doing her best under the circumstances, which I know didn't look like her best under other circumstances. When this happened she had toddler twins and was in the middle of moving. So I think she did great and still appreciate her to this day (because she's amazing). We ate the lasagna later (after we got a new oven) and were thankful for it.
But it doesn't change the fact that sometimes (always?) our best efforts fall short of what was required or expected...and, like, that's okay. In fact, I think that (our incessant failures) is what God expects from us. And I think there's a plan for that. I think God likes potato chips. He probably crunches them up and sprinkles them on top of his cheesy casserole and together they become *chef's kiss!*
So bring me your casseroles, your jello salads, your crinkly bags of potato chips yearning to be free!
Come as you are, bring what you've got, and together...let's eat.