I recently read a book called A Meal with Jesus, by Tim Chester. The author brings to light how a meal is more than just food, it’s an opportunity to truly connect with God and people. Chester spends a lot of time examining the book of Luke where numerous accounts of Jesus eating and sharing meals is documented.
I’m convinced The Son of Man was a foodie. He ate with friends, with sinners, he debated Pharisees over dinner parties, and he fed a group of 5,000 followers because they were hungry. Jesus was seen dining with people so often he was called a glutton and drunkard by his adversaries. He wasn’t a gluten or a drunk, but he was always eating with people, breaking bread with anyone willing to sit with him. Jesus chose, very often, to spread His message of love while eating together. Through that, we see a tiny glimpse of joy and intimacy that can be found in sharing a meal.
Chester describes in a single line something I’ve been trying to put into words for a very long time. He says “The world is far more delicious than it need be.” That line resonates with me. It didn’t have to be this way. God could have given us dog food- a boring, bland substance we eat every meal of every day for our entire lives for the sole purpose of calories. But in His desire to bless us, God chose to provide an abundance of luscious sustenance on this Earth.
He made hundreds of different herbs and spices to complement whole foods. He knew the combination of lemon juice and rosemary would perfectly flavor poultry. The smell of freshly baked bread wasn’t an afterthought, it was intentional. From the natural sweetness of fruit to the savory flavor of game, we have everything our taste buds could ever desire in what He provided for us.
So why do we eat so much, for lack of better term, crappy food? A stroll through the grocery store shows us what we settle for. We buy boxed, preserved, and frozen. We purchase a mere remnant of the natural food product we were given to enjoy. We overindulge in sugar. Concentrated sweetened syrups and sodium are pumped into literally everything to extend shelf life. And at what cost? I suspect both our health and our sense of joy has suffered. Our taste buds have adapted to this new normal diet. Naturally sweet vegetables taste bland in comparison to the sweetness of candy, soda, and high sugar coffees. Most kids prefer Fruit Loops to a bowl of fresh fruit. So we continue to settle for far less than amazing.
I’m just as guilty as the next person when it comes to this. But I’ve decided I’m tired of crappy food. Fast food. Quick and easy dinners. Oversized portions. Break-room junk. Household staples that are bland and boring. Eating just because something is available, even if it’s not that great. I want every meal I consume to make my mouth water. I want to enjoy sweet, sour, salty and savory in perfect proportions. I want to experience complementary flavors. I want nostalgia. I want more conversation and community with friends and neighbors around food. Every meal is an opportunity to taste something amazing. Life is just too short for crappy food.
“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.”Acts 2:46-47