“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. It’s not that meals save people. People are saved through the gospel message. Meals will create natural opportunities to share that message in a context that resonates powerfully with what you’re saying.”
I’m not sure that I agree with Chester on everything that he has written in this book, but it does serve to stretch your mind to think about being on mission for Jesus in a different way. It is undeniable, food is an important part of our lives. It is also undeniable, that food played a big role in the ministry of Jesus, and the Bible as a whole. Food has a way of creating friendships and enhancing intimacy in our relationships.
Just think about your High School cafeteria experience. If it is anything like mine, then who you ate your lunch with spoke volumes about you. Those were your friends. Those were your people. You didn’t dare leave your people. And the immaturity and cruelty of students created cliques, boundaries, and harshness. But the point remains the same. Eating with others, reveals what you feel about them. Just think about how couples get together. Its no surprise that eating together is big part of the dating process. This idea was only magnified in the ancient world. To eat with someone was to accept them.
In realizing how how eating with someone enhances that relationship, it makes good sense, as Chester argues, that these meal experiences can and should be used in order to share Jesus with others. But this requires more than just handing out a tract and never seeing that person again. This involves getting to know people and sharing in their lives. This involves investing in others. This involves reaching out to others that are different than us. Or, as in the case of Jesus, reaching out to the rejects, outcasts, and sinners of society.
This way the Gospel is not just heard, but can actually be seen lived out in real life. There is a lot to chew on in this book. Hospitality has largely become a lost art, but it can be used mightily for the glory of God.
*I apologize for the bad food puns….I couldn’t help myself.