I have become obsessed with food lately. It’s not what you think. Those who know me know I have been working to lose weight, but my obsession is not a backlash effect of my attempt to eat healthy. I still try to keep myself on that narrow path. No, my obsession is more about the value of sharing a meal more than the joy of eating the food.
I have come to realize what may be obvious to many of you – sharing a meal together connects us to one another in significant ways. There is a shared intimacy and a closeness that comes when sitting around a table enjoying some good food.
That thought leads me to another thought – how we develop our sense of connection to one another as followers of Jesus Christ. It seems to me that gathering together in a Sanctuary for worship or in a classroom for learning are both helpful activities, but those are not as effective at helping us build relationships. Developing a deep connection with others happens more quickly and more significantly when we share a meal together. So, it seems we should be doing more of that – inviting others to join us for a meal so we can foster deeper relationships.
That thought leads me to another thought – how can we develop a deeper connection to people in our community? Well, I guess it happens the same way – begin to share meals together. I wish I could say exactly how that might happen, but I am not certain. I am persuaded this is the direction to go, now I am trying to figure out ways to go this direction.
One thing I can tell you is that Jesus had something to say about making our meal time most valuable – at least from his perspective. In his telling of the story, Luke tells us that Jesus spoke about “value meals.”
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
For Jesus, meals were important ways to build relationships. And the best relationship you could build were ones with people who were otherwise ignored or dismissed. The most valuable meal you could have was one where you shared food with someone who needed the blessing of food and fellowship.
All of that leaves me with the question of how can I do that? I have become obsessed with this question about sharing a meal. I have become obsessed with the notion that food and fellowship are a means to bless others. I have come to believe that Jesus like value meals. As I said, I can’t figure out what exactly this means or how an introverted person like myself is supposed to make this happen, but I also cannot escape the fact that God is ready to help me figure this out.
So, maybe God will use you to help me. Any thoughts or advice?
Holy high-five to you,