Q: What do most people do at least 21 times a week?
We’re in the middle of a series called Everyday Rhythms, focusing on simple ways to intentionally build relationships. Why? Because relationships are the foundation for discipleship, and the goal of The Loved Bible Project is to help disciples of Jesus make more disciples of Jesus. This is why the TLBP process ends with Giving it Away, then Investing in and Inviting the person into your life even more. The series is based on a podcast from Saturate called BLESS, and E stands for Eat. (Go back and read the previous blogs here or listen to the Eat podcast here).
There are so many unique ways to build intentional relationships, and they don’t have to be awkward, unnatural, or an addition to your busy life. Who do you encounter in your regular rhythms? Who could you look for rather than see right past them? Who else do you know who eats?
Eating Reminds Us Of God’s Grace
Every time we eat, it’s a reminder of God’s grace, provision, and sustenance. It’s not a coincidence that even the Communion Table, a reflection of the Last Supper of Jesus with his disciples before his crucifixion, is a remembrance of God’s goodness and love. So how can we share that goodness and love with people around us? How do we eat with gospel intentionality?
Consider the 21 meals you eat each week. Share some! Share meals with both your church family, as well as with unbelievers. We all need nourishment, and food is a gift of God’s common grace. “Give us this day our daily bread,” Jesus prayed to the Father. God sustains us, and as we pursue intentional relationships with others, we ask God to work, speak, and love through us. A meal is an opportunity to slow down and not only share food, but share about what’s happening in life. It’s a chance to listen. (Feel free to go back to read the post on intentional listening here). Meals can be a special time not just for feeding people, but growing together, learning about God and each other. Slow down and take time to laugh, listen, and speak. When you do, you’re reflecting God’s love, kindness, and grace.
Eating is Gospel and Mission-Centered
Two of The Loved Bible Project’s Core Values are being gospel-centered and mission-centered. We exist to Love God, Love Bibles, Love People, and Make Disciples. Eating a meal with someone whom God has put in your life is a natural way to build a genuine friendship, and share the good news of the gospel in your ordinary rhythms. Something as simple as praying for the meal can be an opportunity to speak gospel truths to your guests. Asking for God’s blessing on your conversation creates an intimate moment to share something sacred.
Pursue Their Heart, Not Their Compliments
Believe it or not, the food is pretty irrelevant. It’s not about what you serve, or putting on an impressive front. Allow your guests to help or bring something, which can give them a sense of belonging. You’re creating an opportunity for life to be shared in a tangible way. Show care by being thoughtful about any potential food sensitivities like gluten, dairy, nuts, etc. But while you’re together, ask good questions, seek to know them better, and pursue their heart.
Precautions For A Pandemic
You might be thinking, “Is it even possible to share meals with others with all the Covid-19 precautions?” I’m glad you asked! While there are definitely important safety measures to consider, the answer is yes! It just means you’ve got to get a little more creative. Here are some ideas the TLBP team came up with.
- Create a soup swap with a few neighbors, making and trading your favorite soups.
- Do you love Taco Tuesday? Maybe you could set up a taco table in your driveway and invite another family to join you.
- Invite friends to trick-or-treat in your neighborhood, and serve up a crock pot full of chili or hot apple cider.
- Buy a bunch of donuts and eat them on the back deck together. (Bonus: add coffee or hot cocoa!)
- Bring pre-packaged snacks to share with the other parents at your kids’ sports events.
- Or do a coffee run for the other team parents.
- After a game, invite another family to order takeout with you.
- After church, invite others to bring their own picnic and eat lunch together outside.
- If you’re seeing some people regularly and are comfortable with them in your house, pick a couple recipes and do a meal-prep morning together.
- Go out for appetizers or drinks somewhere with outdoor seating.
- Order pizzas and meet others at a playground.
- Make cookies for the older man up the street, chatting with him for a few minutes when you drop them off.
Simple, But Intentional
Simply look for opportunities around you. Everyone eats. Consider the ways you can bless someone else and build relationships within the regular routines of your life. Most likely, it won’t just happen out of nowhere – people are often busy and scheduled. But if you’re intentional, these are moments to truly bless others in simple, regular ways. This might be a meal planned weeks in advance, or it could be an impromptu invite to watch the big game on TV. It could be brunch at a cafe, pizza in the park, or salad on your patio.
Regarding Kids: Teaching Manners and Mission
If you have kids, include them in the process. Welcome their questions and show them a model of intentional care. Let them be kids, without trying to contain them. And yet, use it as an opportunity to teach them how to not just talk about their own interests, but also ask others about themselves. Teach them about manners, and mission. Let your real life show, because the gospel applies to every part of real life.
Look at your week ahead. Which meal can you invite someone to share with you? Who has God put in your everyday path, so you can reflect his goodness to them?
Write your thoughts in the comments below!