It occurred to me tonight that I talk a fair bit about my faith here on this little corner of the internet, but I rarely happen to mention my church or the impact it’s had on my life and my growth in Christ. I’ve never known anything but church. My parents attended the church I go to for 3 years before I was born, and the community there has always been home to me. I met my fiancé there, and continue to make precious new friends there. Like all churches, it’s not perfect – it’s full of imperfect people, so how could it be? To me, however, it’s an incredible place of community, worship and growth.
Tonight at church we tackled the topic of gluttony (when I say ‘tackled’, we did not single handedly overcome it… we simply talked about it). Do you ever fall into the trap of, ‘oh cool… that doesn’t really affect me’? That was my attitude when our minister started talking tonight. He described gluttony as ‘honouring God with our eating habits’, so I kind of figured I had it down. I’m not obese, I’m not anorexic, I occasionally over indulge on birthday cake, but eating hasn’t exactly come in the way of my relationship with God. I mean, eternal life or cake?
After church we had a young adults’ supper and I got to talking to a few people about something called ‘Live Below the Line’, where people take on the challenge of spending no more than $2 a day on food for a whole week in order to raise money and eradicate extreme poverty (check it out here). While having this conversation with people, I was amazed to see that I was scraping plate after plate of perfectly good ‘leftovers’ into the bin. I suppose there’s not a whole lot else to do when about a hundred people have dinner and each leaves a tiny scraping of food on their plate – but it got me thinking about whether I do fully honour God with my food and lifestyle choices. Here are some things I’ve been dwelling on in the past few hours.
1. I’m one of these people who has grown up with ‘grace’. If you’re not familiar with ‘grace’, it’s essentially a Christianism for praying before you eat. When you grow up doing something, it’s easy for it to become ritualistic, and while I’m thankful that my parents have taught me to be grateful for every meal through prayer, it occurred to me tonight that it has become quite… robotic. I wish I didn’t take food for granted, but I fear that I always will because we have such good access to it. ‘Grace’ should be more than a quick thank you, but a genuine gratitude for God’s provision and a cry for help for those who don’t have the access to food that we do.
2. The bible describes our bodies as temples, and explains that we’re to look after them. I suppose we do that in a number of ways, but surely we should be careful about what we feed ourselves. I suppose for some people that’s what they put in their bodies, for some it may be how much they put in their bodies and for others it might be how little they eat. With our wedding coming up and all the expectations our world places on brides to have ‘wedding bodies’ and ‘be fit’ (which is really just code for ‘skinny’), there’s definitely the temptation to under eat or be over cautious or obsessive about food. I certainly don’t want to be one to fall into that trap, and I definitely don’t want it to distract me from the true meaning of marriage and my relationship with God.
3. Not being gluttonous doesn’t mean not enjoying food. I’ve come to the conclusion that God wants us to be happy, and he filled the world with good things that enhance our earthly experiences, and he gave us taste buds so that we could enjoy the good things he filled the earth with. Experimenting with new foods, enjoying baking or sharing a satisfying meal with someone isn’t bad. Food is a gift and it should be treated as one – but it should not be glorified! Instead, we can give God the glory for the crazily complex way in which he allows us to experience food.
Anyway, there’s some food for thought (yes, I went there… it’s late on a Sunday night!) and I hope it got you thinking as well. Let me know if you have any interesting church reflections, and have a great week!