Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55:2b
Being from the South, a lot of time and attention goes into eating. I love to cook and I love to eat! As a mom, even more emphasis is placed on feeding my hungry family. I once saw a drawing of a mother with the back of her hand laid across her forehead exhausted with the caption, “They want to eat again?”
I have three growing boys so our food budget increases exponentially each year as they mature into healthy young men. Seriously, the breakfast dishes are still on the table when my thirteen year old asks me what we are having for lunch!
I love that our family values the time we spend together around the table for meals. Even if it is a cereal night, it’s important that we gather at the table to eat together, talk, and pick on each other. Okay, so I’d prefer if there was no aggravating one another, but I have to take the good with the bad.
Recently my sister was hospitalized unexpectedly for two weeks. Although we were operating in somewhat of a crisis mode, I tried very hard to make it home by 7pm so that we could have dinner together as a family, thus keeping some sense of normalcy. My heart was torn in two, between my own family and my sister and her family. I wanted so bad to be at the hospital but knew that my boys and husband also needed me at home. In order for me to be with my sister, I knew I would have to rely on friends to care for and love my boys after school. Everything else on my agenda could wait, but my biggest need and desire during our family crisis was for someone to love my boys; to feed and take care of my sheep.
During these two weeks I experienced the very literal and tactile application of what it means for someone to “feed my sheep.” There were days when I didn’t know for sure when I’d get home and the family of God swooped in and cared for my sheep; picking them up from school, meeting them at the bus stop, making them special snacks and welcoming them at their own family table for dinner. On the days I did make it home early enough, there was a hot and delicious meal waiting for all of us on our kitchen table, brought over by a thoughtful and caring friend.
Through all the events of the last few weeks I have seen and felt God’s tangible love through those who put into practice the commands Jesus gave Peter when He told him to “Feed my sheep … take care of my sheep.” My whole life, I’ve always interpreted that verse to be a picture of how Christians are to care for and love one another on an earthly plane (which I think is accurate). But God has used this experience in my life to enlighten my heart to an even greater more beautiful picture of His love. Behind Christ’s directive to Peter to feed and care for His sheep, His children on this earth, is His immense, immeasurable, fierce and protective love for you and me.
Jesus knew that He would be ascending to the Father, leaving His children on earth. He had already warned His followers that they would have trouble in this world and He knew that we would need each other. Jesus wanted to make sure that by loving and serving one another our most basic needs would be met. But more than anything, He knew the only thing that would satisfy our starving souls was Himself. That’s why He didn’t leave us as orphaned children, but sent His Holy Spirit to be with every single person that trusts Him as their Savior and follows Him as their Lord. We can know that in times of trial and crisis we will eat what is good and delight in the richest of fare because Jesus is the bread of life. He promises that whoever comes to Him will never go hungry!
In this world we will have many troubles. God in His amazing LOVE beckons each one of us to eat at His table every day to remind us that He is God; He is good; and He is still in control because He has overcome the world.
God loves you so much. Come and eat!