Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is than a fatted ox and hatred with it. Proverbs 15:17 NRSV
I don't think Proverbs is suggesting that we all become vegetarians but Proverbs is saying that love is more important than many luxury items -- including meat. We in America do not see eating meat as a luxury - - we see it more as a necessity. But for many people (even some in this country) meat is for the very wealthy and/or used sparingly. Certainly any animal that is "fatted" would be a sign of wealth as it would take a great deal of money to get your cattle well-fed. So, what this verse is saying is that love in a family is far more important that money.
However, when I hear this verse, I also have the vision of a family sitting down at a meal together. It is almost as if this verse is about showing love while eating a meal as a family. Better to have a meal with just vegetables while everyone sits down, enjoying each others' company. Fatted ox isn't as good when you have to eat it by yourself, on the run or in front of the television.
I recently watched a show where two young people were interested in one another but they came from very different families. The young man was from a fabulously wealthy family. However, when he sat down to eat, he was not surrounded by anyone but six maids and a butler. The rest of the fancy table was surrounded by empty chairs. The young woman's parents owned a struggling dry cleaning business. But even as they sat at a tiny table eating their vegetables, they were laughing with one another and talking about their day. In fact, the young man visits them and falls in love with the woman's family as much as he does her!
What kind of atmosphere do you find at your family's table? If you are not sure about "feeling the love" what can you do about it to change it?
God, thank you for our families. Help us to express love to one another, especially at the table. In Jesus' name. Amen.