In Part 1 of this series, we talked about how using mealtimes as an opportunity to encourage someone is something we can all do! In the following post, you can read about several important ways that the Bible helps us view even our meals as opportunities for the gospel and discipleship.
Meals are an opportunity for COMMUNITY
Community is a real need that we all have. Having been made in the image of our triune God, we can see that God designed us to need one another and to meet this need through His people. We were made for community!
Genuine community takes time.
Relationships with people do not develop without time and effort. Welcoming a person into our day, listening and sharing experiences—each of these things build on each other to create a friendship. Jesus did not only teach his disciples from messages—he traveled with them, ate with them, and shared experiences with them. Jesus is our perfect example of how we can use every opportunity to demonstrate the love and truth of God.
Building friendship and establishing a sense of community will happen one step at a time. Even if it feels awkward in the beginning, every relationship has this stage of establishing common interests, getting to know the other person better, and finally feeling a sense of community and comfort with one another.
Remember that when we give our time, we show people that we love them. When a person feels loved by you, they will be much more open to allowing you to speak into their lives, and this will open doors for ministry to take place where it may not have before.
Meals are an opportunity for CONVERSATION
Meals force us to be people oriented rather than task oriented. Sitting and eating with one another is an opportunity that we have to be still and have conversation. When we can no longer hide behind a project or busyness, we expose who we are in our conversation. We know that out of the heart, the mouth speaks which allows us to really get to know people through conversation.
Let God fill your conversations.
God can use our conversations to help demonstrate His heart for people and encourage them. Proverbs 16:24 says, “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” So, consider meals as an opportunity to love people with your words. Speak about the goodness of God. Bring up the promises of the Bible. Mention how you are seeing God at work in your own life. We are bombarded constantly with the lies and half-truths the world offers; we need to be hearing the truth of God more!
So, remember to pray beforehand, that God will prepare you to speak His words during your time together! Once you begin to view meals as a way to be used by Jesus, you will be much more intentional about doing it! Look for Part 3 of this series for a few more ways to view mealtimes as opportunities for ministry.