Awaken Our Hearts, Fulfill our Calling

More Than a Meal: A Simple Act With Eternal Significance

A lost loved one…. take a meal

A new baby … take a meal.

A deployed spouse… take a meal

A broken heart… take a meal

A stumped toe… take a meal

Admittedly, the last statement is a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. Growing up southern means that taking a meal to others in need is as natural as breathing; it’s just something we do.

I worry that once Baby Boomers and Generation Y are no longer with us, this time-honored tradition will disappear. Regrettably, many Millennials fail to see its importance, along with many other long-held traditions, like penning a handwritten note, gathering the family together for dinner around a table or “resting” on Sunday after attending worship service.

Reasons abound as to why my generation does not value the act of providing a meal for someone, but these words are not meant to rebuke or recriminate. Rather, it is to reinstate; I pray that it will awaken hearts to the eternal significance of keeping certain customs alive by engaging in acts often relegated to the older generations.

 A SIMPLE ACT OF KINDNESS

Have you ever lost your job?

Have you ever suffered from a chronic, debilitating disease? 

Have you ever felt so lonely that all you could do was cry? 

 In Matthew 25:35-40, Jesus is describing the final judgement, our service in the name of God will be accounted: For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”

Having someone knock on your door with dinner in arms makes you feel like your guardian angel has just arrived. Bodies demand daily nourishment, and the simple act of delivering food to someone could be a direct answer to earnest prayers. Even in situations less dire—like after having a baby— it is such a blessing to be able to simply focus on the baby and recovery without meal planning, trips to the store, and cooking.The gracious gift of a prepared meal (homemade or store-bought) allows new mothers more time with their newborn and other family members, precious moments they can never get back. 

STOP OVERTHINKING IT

Many women would like to take meals to others but worry about cooking the wrong dish or being judged for picking up pizza or take out. Others feel like their cooking is subpar. I’m going to let you in on a secret: meals are appreciated no matter what you make or buy to drop off. The fact that you spent time and resources to acknowledge the needs of someone else is far more important than what’s in the casserole dish. 

Made from scratch, delivery, or drive-thru? Do not let the fact that you are not “Betty Crocker” deter you from delivering a meal. It need not always be a complete dinner or a hot meal, either. Submarine sandwiches or Chick-fil-A are welcomed anytime. And frozen meals or soup? Yes, please! When the only thing an overwhelmed mother has to do to feed her hungry crowd is open her freezer door, she is grateful beyond words.

Even in our hectic, self-centered world, little personal sacrifice is required to spend five minutes or less in a drive-through or to pick up an online meal order to lift someone’s spirits. The enemy, Satan, wants to prevent us from blessing someone with this act of kindness, and he also wants to rob us of the joy that comes from giving to others [1]. Don’t allow that. Stop making excuses and start obeying Christ.

A WILLING HEART

Do not underestimate the power of providing just one meal for someone who is lonely, hurting or grieving. Doing so tells people that they are not alone in their suffering, that their Heavenly Father hears and sees them and so do you. They matter. So, what about providing meals needed for an extended period of time? While this may seem daunting or truly impossible for one person to take on, there are online programs that make organizing and scheduling meals for weeks at a time a breeze. And they are free and simple to use, an added bonus. Many churches have these types of programs in place to help members during bereavement or other major life events, so if a need presents itself, consider signing up. [2] It may only involve dropping off a meal once a month, but if moved by the Holy Spirit to do more, then by all means, follow your heart. Be sensitive. 

The Lord does not excuse our excuses: we don’t have the time, we don’t have the money, we don’t have the culinary skills, etc. Ask God to change this mentality and refocus, looking outward instead of inward at self, for this is not just about food; it’s about following in the steps of the one who fed the masses because he was moved with compassion and served supper to his disciples after humbly washing their feet. It is about showing the love of Christ and being the hands and feet of our Savior to those around us, saved and lost. It’s about looking beyond ourselves and checking our personal comfort in at the door, sacrificing for others as Christ did for us. [4]

If God did not spare his only son to come live among us and then lay down his life for us, surely we can grab a casserole and a bagged salad, pack the kids in the car and take a meal to someone, even if it means giving up a few Happy Meals to make someone else a little happier. Remember, our actions, not our well-meaning intentions, demonstrate the love of our Heavenly Father.[5] 

[1] Proverbs 22:9

[2] Proverbs 3:27 

[3] Galatians 6:2

[4] Hebrews 13:16

[5] James 2:14-17

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