I love getting together with friends, and I love eating. When I can blend the two together—perfection! Jesus chose this method, gathering and eating together, to show his love and teach about his kingdom many times while he walked this earth. He loved to eat with people, connect with them, and unpack the word for them. Jesus knew there is something about eating that relaxes people and helps them focus on each other. I once read an article demonstrating how Jesus ate his way through the gospels. Just think, the last supper and the feeding of the 5,000 are recorded in all four gospels.
Jesus knew we needed moments of connection and encouragement over food. In Mark 6:31, Jesus encouraged the disciples to take time out of their busy schedule to rest and eat: “And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while,’ (for there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat).”
Looking back at times that have been the most meaningful to me, food has often been involved. Weddings, funerals, birthday parties, and baby showers. Each of these events involved fun, food, and stimulating conversation.
When I was a child, our small church had many potlucks. I quickly learned which ladies would bring dishes with the potential to make you unlucky at the potluck and how to avoid those tidbits. Thank the Lord there were so many more that were absolutely scrumptious and interesting. Just remembering all of the good smells and flavors makes me smile.
Present day lunches may not have the same homemade goodness of the past, but the fun, fellowship, and connection is still the same. Social scientists Fishbach and Wooley in a recent research study found that not just eating together but eating the SAME food increased trust and cooperation among the diners. To prove this theory, volunteers role-played a manager and union representative that needed to agree on the hourly wage that management was willing to pay and that union members would accept. When the volunteers ate the same kinds of food, they reached agreement much more quickly than when one person ate something sweet and the other person ate salty food.
Whether it is the same food or a smorgasbord, I am freer to talk with those at my table and get to know someone new when I am seated near them and have food to occupy my hands. A full stomach also makes me more receptive to a speaker sharing her heart.
When it comes to the Kingdom of God, the topic of the meals is as important as the food. The chance to learn something new, hear a whispered direction from God while listening to others speak, and the ability to share your insights with those around your table are precious and sweet moments.
The Sisterhood Leadership Lunch on Saturday, April 21st is an opportunity you will not want to miss. It is your chance to eat some yummy food, make connections, and hear what God has to say about women in leadership. Visit https://mnbtg.org/sisterhood/ to get your ticket!
“All of them were encouraged and they themselves also took food,” Acts 27:36.