March 13, 2009
A Simple Project with Food
by Charles R. Swindoll
Most of life seems to revolve around eating food.
We're either growing it, shopping for it, or planning on it. We gather around it to highlight special times of celebration where our meals are mixed with laughter. We also sit together around it following a funeral, where tears are shed and grief is shared. If it's someone's birthday, we eat. If there's a farewell for friends moving away, we eat. If a colleague at the office gets promoted, we applaud the event by eating. Whether we're in a stadium enjoying a great athletic event or sitting in a boat deep-sea fishing, there's always food to eat. When one of our kids wins an award, graduates from school, gets married, or has a baby, we build a meaningful memory by eating together. Silver and golden anniversaries call for a special meal to be enjoyed, often in intimate settings.
And even on days when nothing all that special is happening, we don't miss eating at least twice, usually three times . . . not to mention eating snacks in the evening while watching a favorite program or munching on a piece of fruit while reading in bed. If food is anywhere near, we're all over it.
This isn't new. Even back in biblical days, an endless number of events included food. Adam and Eve's fall in the garden of Eden occurred when they ate the forbidden fruit. Esau sold his birthright over a bowl of stew. Long-lost Joseph was reunited to his brothers because of a famine for food. The exodus was preceded by a special meal, which was to be cooked just as God required. The Hebrews were sustained for years in the wilderness by manna, which the psalmist called "angel's food." The prophet Elijah survived because ravens catered his meals. Special meals proved to be life-changing turning points for Esther, Belshazzar, the prodigal son, and the disciples as they sat with Jesus at the Last Supper. To this day, Christians anticipate that glorious time when we shall see our Lord and eat with Him at the marriage feast of the Lamb!
Because food is here to stay---and because we will spend untold hours eating it---doesn't it make good sense to think about how to make the most of those hours . . . to emphasize quality over quantity . . . to spend a little more time preparing what's good for us instead of choking down what works against us? Good habits like that lead to good digestion, which results in a mind that's free of guilt and a body that thanks you over and over.
Here is a simple project that you can do. Because it won't come naturally, you'll need to apply some personal discipline, but the rewards will be many. For the next four days, during meals, follow this four-step plan:
First, before you take your first bite, bow your head and pray. Thank God for your food. You might ask Him to help you eat slower.
Second, pause from eating every minute or so and talk with the person sitting at the table with you. Good discussions and digestion mix well.
Third, when you finish, stay seated. Allow yourself an extra few minutes to relax. That helps your food begin its nourishing journey.
Oh, and one more thing---keep that television off.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.