I love to eat. I love the “Bourbon Bootlegger” at Pazzos. I love the “Cape Codder” at Smithtown. I love the Brisket Sandwich at Blue Door Smokehouse. I love the Maple Bacon Donut at North Lime. Should I go on?
And as I read through the Gospels, it becomes apparent that Jesus did too. In Luke’s Gospel alone, Jesus eats 10 meals – some with his disciples, some with religious leaders and Pharisees, and some with the outcasts of the day: tax collectors and sinners. In his day, to share a meal with someone was an act of acceptance – and often who Jesus ate with got him in trouble.
In fact, Jesus himself acknowledges that his eating habits had earned him a reputation among the religious elite, who called him a “glutton and a drunkard (Matt. 11:19).” Was he? No, but the company he kept gave the impression that he was. The religious elite wouldn’t dare associate themselves with such lowly ‘sinners.’ But for Jesus, this is why he came.
Meals, after all, are a place of hospitality. When we sit down over a meal with someone, we get to hear their story, share their struggles, and form a common bond. In the life of Jesus, showing hospitality through sharing a common meal became a central component of his ministry, and it should be for us as well. Tim Chester, in his book “A Meal With Jesus,” describes Jesus’ missional meal habits this way:
“Jesus didn’t run projects, establish ministries, create programs, or put on events. He ate meals. If you routinely share meals and you have a passion for Jesus, then you’ll be doing mission.
We are in the middle of a series called “Surprise the World,” where we are discovering 5 simple habits that help us be good news to the world. Last week, Adrian talked about our first habit: Bless. We should be the kind of people who bless others through words of encouragement, acts of kindness, or gifts of love.
This week, we move to our second habit: Eat! The good news is, you already eat food. So why not take one or two opportunities to show God’s love and hospitality through sharing a meal? We’ll learn this weekend that being hospitable is at the heart of God and everything he does, and one of the easiest ways we show his love is through a common meal together.
And you know what? We’ll have a chance to practice, thanks to our Chili Dinner and City Group Info Night right after the service! We have some folks bringing chili and fixin’s, so stick around afterword for a great meal together.
See you Sunday night!