1 Chronicles 29:10-18 –
All my life we have said a blessing at each meal for the food that we eat. Even when we eat out. Sometimes someone will come up to me and comment about it. Most of the time the response is good.
I do it because I believe that we need to express gratitude to the Lord for everything. But it may surprise some that there really isn’t any specific command saying, “Thou shalt pray for your food before every meal for I am an angry God who will smite thee if thou neglects it!” I have actually had people who thought they might get sick or choke on “unblessed food”.
As my children were growing up we taught them to pray before each meal. They would always say “thank you for the food” and then they would peek out from behind folded hands and closed eyes and name off each item we were having. Then they would thank God for the fork, the spoon, the plate, the napkin, and anything else that was sitting on the table. It was cute.
Sometimes we get so rushed in our eagerness to eat that we generically thank God for the food we are about to eat without much real thought put into the words we are speaking. God has blessed us with a rich variety of taste, textures, types, and temperatures of foods. (i.e. – cheese has a slightly different taste and texture when served at room temperature that it does served hot or cold).
Consider also the preparation that it takes for each dish. I can throw a bunch of vegetables into a pot and make a tasty soup. But if you take your time and “layer” flavors you will make a stew that will knock your socks off.
There is, of course, the ones who worked to get the food from the point of origin to our table. I once saw a show that followed the food from field to the table. One thing it made me appreciate was the effort that goes into each sip of coffee that I am drinking this morning and some of the other foods that God gives to me as a blessing.
As you know from this blog that I have always struggled with food. You might say that I like it too much. I struggle with over indulgence. I wolf down my food with less thought or gratitude than when I prayed my generic prayer and then I look for more. I think that probably is the worse sign of ingratitude.
Today, I am going to show my God that I am grateful for the food that he provides for me to eat. I am going to eat smaller portions and savor each bite and each flavor. I am going to pray that God blesses each hand that helped bring that food to my table too. And I am going to pray for those whose stomachs are going empty today. With much thought and gratitude I will show… and vocalize… my thanks for “the food.”
Dear Father, I am truly grateful for all the blessings you provide in my life. I am especially grateful for the food. Forgive me of the times I don’t appear appreciative. Forgive me for keeping my feet under the table when the fields are white unto the harvest. And thank you most of all, oh Lord, for the wonderful blessing of the bread of life, your son, Jesus. It is in his name that I pray to you this morning. Amen.
“If the only prayer you say in your life is “thank you,” that would suffice.” -Meister Eckhart
“As we join hands in fellowship around this bountiful table, we give thanks for the blessings of this food and the love of these friends as a symbol of our gratitude for all the manifold blessings of this life.” – Jonathan Lockwood Huie