Summary: Eating food to the glory of God on a mission
Food pays an important part of our mission here at The Gateway.
Leadership team starting thinking through our core values - our ways in Christ, everyone said FOOD first!
Gospel of Luke 1/5 sentences is somehow related to a meal. Jesus either going to a meal, coming from a meal, having a meal with people!
Think of your own dining room or kitchen table. What dramas have played out there? chatting as a family, sharing news, telling stories, poking fun, imbibing values, welcoming guests, making friendships, love blossoming, laughter, crying even an argument or three!
We love our dining table, because we love what has happened there. One of our not yet Christian friends always comments whenever a photo involving it ends up on FB "The table" - because it's there destinies have been prophecied, we have cried with people, shared the gospel and seen steps to changing lives.
One of the things that saddens me most about modern life is TV dinners! Meals are important, not just for fuel for life, but so much more. Few things are more expressive of companionship than sharing food together. In fact the Latin root of the word companionship is cum together, panis bread! Food connects, with family and turning strangers to friends. No wonder Acts 2 mentions the early church's devotion to breaking of bread (as in communion) and breaking bread together as in fellowship!
How did Jesus use some of his meals?
In Luke 7 when he is eating at one of the Pharisees house, a woman who was a well know sinner came and brought a jar of ointment to wash his feet. They were disgusted that an unclean woman had done it. He then used it as a teaching moment about forgiveness and forgave the woman her sins there and then.
In Luke 10:38-42 He is eating with Mary, Martha. Martha gets cross because she is busy and Mary is not helping - Jesus uses it as a teaching moment about making good choices.
In Luke 24:30 after the resurrected Jesus had walked on the Emmaus road their eyes were opened as they broke some bread together.
There's just three examples of meals with Jesus where evangelism, discipleship, revelation and rebuking all occurred in the context of sitting round a table eating.
Heb 13v1-2 "Let brotherly love continue, do not neglect to show hospitality to stranger, for thereby some have entertained angels"
The author of Hebrew is exhorting us to put into practice philadelphia and philoxenia
Brotherly love - love of the brothers is the word Philadelphia - city and a Tom Hanks film. Phila - love, delphia brothers. Love those within the church family.
The very next statement uses Philoxenia - philo love, xenia foreigners and strangers. Show love to those who aren't part of the family.
I love the way he puts the two as a word play which we can easily miss. Let Philadelphia continue and don't neglect Philoxenia - for many of us loving the brothers is the natural one. Maybe you don't socialise with many not yet Christians.
Matthew's story is a great example of this in practice. It's the early days of Jesus' ministry and Jesus has found Levi aka Matthew who is following him. The very next thing Levi does is to hold a party. Let's pick up the story in Luke 5v27
After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth. And he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 And leaving everything, he rose and followed him.
29 And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them. 30 And the Pharisees and their scribes grumbled at his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”
In Matthew's own account we are told that the tax collectors and sinners came to eat with Jesus and his disciples. So what he has done is to mix his new believing friends with his not yet believing friends and trusted God to do His thing - opening up conversations, discussions and revealing men and women of peace.
The point is here is that whenever you are having friends round for a bite to eat or coffee or whatever, don't just invite one lot of friends - mix them up! The fishermen disciples would have instinctively known that fishing is a team thing with nets not sad old men hiding from their wives with a rod and line!