I’m convinced that God would love to sit down and have a conversation over a good gyro platter, or plate of pot roast, or blackened salmon, or even a grilled hot dog…or any other kind of food. After all, food is referenced so many times in the Bible, and most often with joyous feelings…
God gave them the grain of heaven (Psalm 78:24)
I am the bread of life (John 6:35)
Go, eat with joy (Ecclesiastes 9:7)
At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread (Exodus 16:12)
You shall not live by bread alone (Matthew 4:4)
Food, and being fed, are important to God…and to us. God knows that food will get our attention (especially if it’s blackened and cooked medium well…just sayin’). Where there is food, there is God. For God is always with us, and especially around a table.
Every Tuesday, after our morning meetings, the church staff goes out to lunch. Today, we laughed together. We teased each other (sometimes we act more like boisterous siblings than saints!). We shared recent struggles (along with some steak fries, tomatoes, and olives), all as we enjoyed a meal together around a table. God, with us, in community (and, if I’m created in God’s image, I’m sure He would ALSO say that the gyro meat I had is the best in Charlotte).
I recently received a phone call from someone asking for assistance. She said she was a server at a restaurant near the church campus in Concord. I couldn’t figure out how she came to call me, or how she got my number, until she mentioned the names of two of our church members. A while back, one of the members had asked for some of my church business cards to hand out as a means of promoting the church. Facing a crisis, the server, who must have been given one of my business cards, called me, asking for assistance. I hope that our efforts to help were seen as a reflection of Jesus. And it all started around a table with a plate of waffles and bacon.
Yesterday, one of the few days I didn’t have a lunch appointment, I went to lunch by myself. Since I like little hole-in-the-wall restaurants, I drove a few extra minutes to a diner I hadn’t visited before. The upholstery on the bench seats was torn. The walls, ceiling, and fixtures—a little tired and dirty. One section of the seating area was used more for storage than for dining. But the food was great, and the clientele diverse. Thinking I’d get some reading done while eating (and, by the way, the pot roast was excellent!), I found myself more engaged in the conversation at the next table, which I couldn’t help but overhear. Two retired gentlemen were talking about what they had discussed in their Sunday School class. God talk, even in a greasy spoon!
Recently, I had a first meeting (over lunch, of course) with an attorney. Thinking that we’d talk more about his practice and the ever-changing laws that keep him in business, we ended up talking almost the entire lunch about God, his family, his faith journey, and his difficult decision to go to law school instead of seminary. This 1-hour lunch stretched quickly into 2½ hours. I have no doubt that God was there (and, I’m sure, would have enjoyed the blackened salmon).
Gather around a table. It’s what we Christians do. And God is with us…just as He is when we gather around the table during worship, and share in the meal of the bread and wine. So, “Go,” as God tells us in Ecclesiastes. “Eat with joy!,” knowing that God is with us, at the table, and in every aspect of our lives.
In the joy of the Lord! (and having enjoyed a great lunch…), I bid you peace,