Taste and See
4 Sep 2017
Food. It’s one of the essential things we need to sustain life. It’s a part of every single day. We hunger for it. Think about it. Buy it. Peel it. Chop it. Cook it. Touch it. Smell it. Taste it. But it’s so much more than just nourishment.
There is something dynamic that happens when we eat with others. Family meals are a time to unpack the day, laugh together and discuss what’s happening in our lives. At celebrations like birthdays and Christmas, the meal is often the hub around which the whole day spins. With old friends and new, and even with strangers, eating together creates opportunities for relationships to grow and deepen.
Food can be a key part of ministry, both here and overseas. Missionaries want to form genuine friendships with people in the culture they are serving in so that, as they interact, there will be natural opportunities to introduce their friends to Jesus.
The culture that Jesus was born into had a lot of rules and taboos around what you could eat, and who you could eat with. But as we read through the gospels, we find that Jesus was often eating with all sorts of people. He went to a banquet with a group of despised tax collectors. When the Pharisees called him out on it, Jesus said ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick’ Luke 5:31. He ate in the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, friends he loved deeply (John 12:2). He shared the Passover meal with the twelve disciples, where he explained to them the significance of his imminent death (Luke 22:14-15). After his resurrection, he cooked a fish breakfast on the beach for some of his close friends. They were still hurting and confused by all that had recently happened, and in the simple, tangible action of preparing food and eating with them, Jesus added another significant layer to his relationship with them (John 21:12).
In the late 1990s, my husband and I attended a week of training in Delhi India for Church Planters. We were privileged to sit under the teaching of a well-respected Indian pastor named Victor Choudhrie, who had at that time planted around 4000 churches in the north of India. He was a gentle, humble, older man, but his eyes were bright with love for the Lord, and his desire to see those living in darkness introduced to their saviour, Jesus. There are bits and pieces of that week that I still remember. I can remember him teaching us about going into a new place and finding the “man of peace” who is already receptive to the gospel. I remember him teaching us about gathering small groups of seekers to read the word of God together. But the thing I remember most clearly, something he said over and again that week, is that “It’s the eating, not the meeting”.
He described to us that a church should not be founded on meetings, structures, planning and schedules. True Church comes through relationships, and relationships happen around the meal table. Meetings are about the transfer of information. Eating is about sharing life.
So taste and see that the Lord is good, and be a disciple who loves to invite others to a meal, so that they can taste and see God right alongside of you.