Have you ever noticed how often eating is mentioned in the Bible? From the trees God planted that were pleasing to the eye and good for food in Genesis, to the Marriage Feast described in Revelation, food plays a really big part. Another thing I’ve noticed is that in almost every occasion, the meal is presented as a gift and honor to someone else. I especially like the story of Abraham’s visitors. Three guests turned up unexpectedly, and Abraham ran to meet them begged them to stay and refresh themselves before they moved on. When they agreed, he set someone to kneading bread, and then went out to choose a young calf to prepare. Now, I’m pretty much a city girl and have no idea how long it takes to dress a calf, but I have baked bread, and I have cooked a roast, and all I can say is, I hope Abraham had a lot of hors d’oeuvre, because it was sundown before those men got their lunch!
But there are some pretty simple meals described, too. I love the story of Jesus waiting on shore for the disciples that first morning after his resurrection. “Come and have breakfast,” he said, and served them the fish and bread he had cooked for them on his small fire. Indeed, Jesus said even a cup of cold water offered in his name would be blessed.
I guess the point is, serving food to others honors them and blesses us. And is, I think, an example we’re meant to follow. Whipping up homemade bread and a fatted calf at a moment’s notice might be a little out of our reach, but what about taking a few warm muffins to an elderly neighbor? Or inviting your running partner in for a post-run smoothie? Or even putting just a little extra care into dinner for your family? We can start with a cup of cold water and work our way up to the barbecue on the beach.
What do you think? Is hospitality an art lost to 21st century busyness?