Living open wide

Food impacts us more than we want to realize. It’s necessary. We have to consume at some point or we will die. Do we have enough for a sack of millie meal? Can we afford veggies? We calculate the cost. Or we don’t.

We “have” to have food so we justify our careless expenditures. We buy what we want and feed this insatiable desire for more. For variety. We are experts at justification. We don’t think to pray about our food costs or if we should grab something quick from the little truck vendor.

Restaurants smell good and beckon us with a wide variety of delicacies. Fried food. Homemade tacos. Fresh seafood.

Holidays find us indulgent with braai’s, turkey feasts, and more food than we can eat. We find the celebrations joyous. The air is filled with the laughter of friends or family.

The Bible mentions lots of feasts, some to celebrate the goodness of the Lord and meditate on His faithfulness.

Is food wrong? No, we must eat to live. Food is a necessity. We can survive for a while with no food and only water, but eventually we must eat or we will die. Food is sustaining and life giving.

We can easily distort it. We can find ourselves eating because we are happy and because we are sad. We binge eat and some even make themselves purge afterwards from the guilt. Food can be the legal drug, an escape from our anxiety or a friend in our loneliness. Over consumption puts our health at risk and could kill us. God’s word calls out gluttony as sin, on the same playing field as lust, worry or gossip.

How do we have a healthy response to food in the midst of our desire to be satisfied? How do we decide how much money we will spend on food this month or how much we will visit the local restaurants?

Could it be possibly that we should pray about everything? Is that an insane notion to involve the God of the universe in our trips to the grocery? Should we ask him about going out with friends on Friday night? Does He care about what we eat or how we spend our money?

Here’s a few scriptures for us to think about…

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

– 1 Corinthians 10:31

When we partake from the table, is our eating and drinking for the glory of God? So many times I’ve sat at the table and haven’t considered the glory of God. His glory hasn’t crossed my mind as I’ve eaten chips and salsa or a pan of brownies. His glory isn’t my focus when I open the fridge and say “we don’t have anything,” when in reality, we have plenty, just not what I want.

Every holiday I think or say outloud, “I feel like I am going to throw up.” I eat too much. And don’t talk about bar food because I like all of it and want some right now just thinking about it. How many times have I gone for dinner with friends for “the experience” and dropped several days worth of wages on one meal that lasted a few hours.

God is merciful people. All my eating and drinking has not been for God’s glory. I want that to change.

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.”

– Psalm 81:10

He gives us everything we need. Everything. I find this amazing. We haven’t bought food in years and we’ve always had enough. He does fill it. He keeps our fridge, freezer and pantry full and overflowing. And here I am, just as much a wanderer as those Israelites. Sometimes maybe He is saying to us like He did them, “slow down, pray, trust me.” The modern equivalent of “open your mouth wide and I will fill it.”  If I could only remember tomorrow the clarity I have right now that He is my God and He has my life, my next steps, my meals, and everything else. Maybe it’s irony, but food is teaching me to trust Him.

Leftovers have this new, beautiful meaning to me. It’s His preparing for the next meal before we’ve finished with the one we are on. Leftovers are extra to share and an opportunity to bless others. Leftovers make room for hospitality and having someone to dinner at the last minute. We don’t have to gorge ourselves as the same yummy can be a delight from Jesus the next day.

Remember the people hungry for Jesus and listening to Him teach on the mountainside. They were learning so much spiritually, when He realized they were becoming physically hungry. He performed a miracle with the little boy’s loaves and fish and even had the disciples gather the leftovers when everyone was done eating. Do you ever wonder if that extra provision is what He and the disciples ate for their next meals? No matter, He was teaching them to be a good stewart of His provision and to save it for later. Seems simple and little, but maybe Jesus does not want us to waste either. If food goes bad in our fridge because we bought too much or we forgot to serve the leftovers, I wonder if we are forgetting to “do it all for the glory of God.”

“But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

– Matthew 4:4

My heart hears Jesus reminding me, want Me more than milkshakes, fried potatoes or raw oysters. Want Me more than a night out without kids. Want Me more than My provision. The delight of sushi, steak and seafood should pale in comparison to Jesus.

Unfortunately that’s not always been my story. I haven’t always listened for His voice, read His Word with eagerness, or been desperate for a touch from Jesus. But, He is changing me. He’s changing my desires. He is opening up my mind to things I’ve never considered. He’s giving me a desire to bring glory to God with what I eat, drink and do.

“Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”

– Acts 14:17

He is satisfying me, deeply. He provides me with gladness. I praise Him for the warm potato soup and hot tea on a cold day. Every meal we have a witness of His faithfulness. I want to eat with that delight… for the blessing said, before the consumption, to mean something! Gone need to be the days of my picky choices and ungrateful attitude. He’s changing me and I want to praise Him. I want to tell of His goodness in the land of the living. I want to delight in trusting Him for cereal and milk. The acorn squash has never tasted sweeter.

Thankfulness cannot be my November fix. He’s calling us to live moment to moment with gratitude, praising Him for the right now. So, I praise him for the pickled cucumbers, the red skinned potato salad and the bag of yellow onions. Every bit of it is good and from His gracious open hand. Let’s take the gift with delight, being wise, caring for our bodies, in moderation, and with great joy.

Everything brings us back to worship. Meals are for His glory, it’s not about comforting ourselves, indulging or wanting. My mind can hardly understand all the “nooks and crannies” of such a life where EVERYTHING is for His glory. Maybe the point is not trying to understand, but seeking from His strength to go for it!

All for His glory.

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