When you sit to dine…

You know how you hate to eat alone…what could be worse…being invited by someone to come and eat with them and you know that in exchange for that meal, they are going to want something in return.

It doesn’t matter what they want.

My dad used to tell us stories when he was an MP in the Dutch army while stationed in Indonesia.  Individuals would invite him and his partner over for dinner.  Their thought would be to fill them up with so much food that they would go back to the office and lounge awhile.  This gave them opportunity to smuggle in the necessary goods through that small open window.  It never worked – dad and his partner would feign being full and tired and drag themselves away from the home only to go and start their check of the coastline looking for the landing point of the smugglers – caught them every time – dad was there seven years and that trick always worked.

As a person in fund development, I always take donors to a lower than average restaurant to ensure they know that I am not expecting more from them or making them feel guilty so that they give more.  It is an appropriate expression of thanks and a time to get to know one another better.  Those are always great meetings because there are no improper motives.  The same goes for donors who invite me out to eat.  The classier the restaurant, the more of a guarantee that I will not receive a gift.  The gift is the meal – too bad.

I remember as the Christian Education Coordinator for my church that I was having a difficult time establishing a meeting time with the Superintendent of our Sunday School ministry.  I finally asked her if she ate – positive response – and then suggested an appropriate lunch time.  Since it would be just the two of us, she declined, as I was married and she thought that was inappropriate.  Hope that didn’t suggest anything improper about my character or temper.

So, it is not as easy as you might think.  A few dinners along the way and you might feel that you owe, when you feel that you owe, you have been bought with a price.  Think twice before you accept that next dinner invitation.

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