November 10, 2004
Encouragement for Today

Please Pass the Lobster
Rachel Olsen - ETC Editor, Member of Proverbs 31 Speaker Team

Key Verse:

God also said, "Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you."  Genesis 1:29 (CSB) 

Devotion:
 
The other day I read in the newspaper of young woman eating 38 lobsters in just twelve minutes.  Thirty-eight lobsters in one sitting! Why would a mere l05 lb. woman consume 9.76 pounds of lobster meat so rapidly?  She was one of eleven contestants in a speed eating contest.  In fact, according to the International Federation of Competitive Eating, she holds speed eating records for baked beans as well as boiled eggs.  Yes, there is such a federation and yes, she is a world champion for eating beans, eggs and lobster.
 
After reading of this woman's feat, I wasn't sure if I was shocked, amazed or appalled. She won a trophy belt and $500 for her efforts.  Now, I know what you're thinking. "There is money to be made in eating a lot?"  Some of us consider ourselves "gifted" at eating and are imagining a lucrative new career.  I once ate an entire watermelon for dinner while pregnant with my first child! 

God has made vast provision for us in the area of food.  He says, "Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth, and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This food will be for you" (Genesis 1:29 CSB).  God also says in Genesis 9:3 that "every living creature will be food for you" (CSB).  I think it's interesting that He tells us to "look" at the food He has provided us.  Are we noticing His provision, or simply wolfing it down? 

Jesus took note of His Father's provision and daily gave thanks for it.  In fact, in giving us a model prayer, Jesus made a point to include thanks to God for each day's food (Matthew 9:11).  Saying "grace" before a meal is a ritual for many families.  However, this prayer is often said the same way, or by the same person every night.  It can run the risk of becoming perfunctory. Sometimes it feels like an obstacle to eating the food while it's hot and tummies are hungry.  If this is happening in your family, try praying after the appetizer, after the meal or before desert.  Try rotating who says the prayer.  Switching things up a little can help us better focus on the ritual of giving thanks for our daily bread. 

I wonder if the champion speed-eater tasted any of that delicious Maine lobster she downed so quickly.  I also wonder if you and I take enough time to savor our food.  God gives food its nutrients to nourish our bodies, and its flavor to delight our souls. 
 

You'd be hard pressed to find a national holiday or family event that doesn't have food somehow attached to its celebration.  There's a reason for that.  Everyone - young and old - can find common ground over a plate of good food.  Eating is a pleasurable activity and the breaking of bread is made more pleasurable when done with people we love.    
 
How about you and I planning a quiet evening to enjoy dinner with our loved ones?  I encourage you to put on some fun music and enjoy cooking up a favorite recipe that will fill the house with lingering scents.  There is nothing like the anticipation good-smelling food creates!  Set the table with something extra special - maybe cloth napkins, a fresh floral centerpiece or some candles. 
 
Switch the music to soft, background instrumentals when it's time for the meal. Give the family plenty of time to unwind by serving a cool drink and a simple appetizer like soup, salad or fruit.  Strike up some friendly conversation while eating - taking care to avoid any sensitive topics or family "business."
 
My friends, I challenge you to a friendly eating contest.  Let's see if we can set a world record for the longest-lasting, most satisfying, and fully appreciated meal.  Lobster, of course, is optional.


My prayer for today:

Lord, I thank you for my daily bread.  Thank for you for the many, tasty provisions you have made for your people.  Help me to slow down and enjoy them today.


Application Steps:

Get out your calendar and cookbook and plan a meal your family won't soon forget.  Gather your family around the table and celebrate God's bountiful provision.


Reflection points:

Could your family set any speed-eating records?

Is mealtime a time that is cherished and enjoyed in your household?

Do you daily give God thanks, as Jesus did?


Power Verses:

Give us this day our daily bread.  Matthew 6:11 (NLT)

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine, flourishing within your home. And look at all those children! There they sit around your table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees. Psalm 128:3  (NLT)

The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what's ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we'll never settle for less. 2 Corinthians 5:3-5 (MSG) 

Let me prepare some food to refresh you. Please stay awhile before continuing on your journey.  "All right," they said. "Do as you have said." Genesis 18:5 (NLT)

This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.  I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her poor with bread. Psalm 132:14-15 (NKJ)

We're in no hurry, God.  We're content to linger in the path sign-posted with your decisions.  Who you are and what you've done are all we'll ever want." Isaiah 26:8 (MSG)


Additional Resources:

The P31 Woman Magazine, our monthly magazine
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/p31woman.html

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html