In the last two blogs, I wrote about how we are learning that as a family, God calls us to be on mission together. We are exploring this through reaching out and loving on the homeless in Fort Worth. We follow a simple pattern called B.L.E.S.S as we learn to engage and love those around us. If you missed the first parts, click our links below.
B. Begin with prayer
It seems funny that a component of missional living has to do with eating...but perhaps this is part of God's perfect plan to give us time to be missional. No matter how busy we get, we have to find time to eat. While we get busy at times, and can even skip meals, we know that we ultimately need to come back and eat.
Jesus taught us this missional principal Himself, so much so that people called him "a glutton and a drunkard" (Matthew 11:19). Was Jesus really addicted to food, or perhaps was he teaching us that mission can happen through sharing a meal. When Jesus trained the 72 followers in Luke 10, as they went out to proclaim the kingdom, he told them to "Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you."
Not only was Jesus teaching his disciples through example the missional aspect of eating, but He commanded them to do so as they went out to proclaim the gospel...this was part of their missional training.
Why eating? Perhaps it is where relationships are made...where trust is built, where life is shared. We know that the early church gathered together around meals, we are told to remember Christ through a meal, and that it all ends with the wedding feast of the Lamb. Even in other parts of our lives...families get together for dinner or cook-outs, many first dates have dinner as part of it, co-workers get together for lunches.
As families, this is one of the easiest ways to be on mission. If you want to develop relationships with people, share a meal with them. Invite the neighbor family over for dinner. Invite the co-worker over that you've been praying for. If you are a student, sit with someone else at lunch. You have to eat anyways...why not use it as an opportunity to be on mission.
As a high school teacher, I leave my door open during lunch everyday for students to come in and eat...and I make it a point to be in there to eat with them. I usually have 5 to 10 regular students who eat in my room each day, where we can talk...where I hear about struggles, and relationships are built.
As a family, as we serve the homeless at Unity Park, we started off by visiting during Saturday lunch, where we could share meals with the homeless...not provide a meal necessarily, but sit down with them and talk with them while eating. Even after the volleyball tournaments, we try to bring popsicles or pastries so we can sit around and eat with them after we play. These are sweet times where we can hear about their lives, pray with them, and build relationships.
As an individual, and as a family, how can you find time to use eating as a missional piece of your life? I encourage you to find a way to share a meal with someone this week that you might not normally eat with. Pray and see who God leads you to. Then eat with them, and see what God does....