Not by Bread Alone: A 31-Day series

Day thirty-one: What I’ve learned

Well, here we are.

Day thirty-one.

I hope you have enjoyed our study of what the Bible says about food as much as I have. Although, I have to be honest, what we discovered surprised me a little.

I think I was secretly hoping to stumble upon some verse I’d overlooked until now, something that told me specifically what I could and could not eat, something along the lines of “Thou shalt eat chicken, bone-in skin-on three nights a week, takeout Chinese for Sunday lunch, and pizza on Fridays nights. Thou shalt uphold Oatmeal Thursdays, and if you do not neglect to finish your salad, thou shalt have as many cookies as you like once a month.”

But try as I might, I never found that verse in the Bible.

What I discovered instead was that like so many things in our lives, food is just a tool. Something that can be used to glorify God, or to turn our backs on his ways and trust in ourselves.

It’s about the food. But it’s not about the food.

Over the course of these last thirty-one days, I began to notice a few themes that appeared over and over in Scripture when food was involved. If you asked me to hit the high points of what I learned over the course of this month, here is what I would tell you:

1. God is always, always, always able to meet our need for food.
He made us. He knows that we get hungry. He tells us not to worry about where our food comes from.
“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Matthew 6:31-32.
And he proves over and over again that is able to meet that need no matter how impossible our situation seems. The God to whom I pray to provide for my family is the same God who rained down food on his children in the desert. Who commanded the ravens to bring meat to Elijah. Who broke one little boy’s lunch into pieces and fed thousands with it. So when my pantry is a little bare, I can trust him.

2. Our need for God is more important than our need for food.
Sometimes we lose sight of this. After all, filling our bellies often feels more urgent than filling our minds with God’s word and our hearts with his presence. But when we trust that feeling we believe a lite. That’s why God gave us fasting. Because sometimes we need to hungry for food to find what it is that we truly desire.

3. The way we treat other people is more important than what is on the plate.
You can follow dietary rules all day long, but if you don’t love other people while you are doing it, it means nothing. In his first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul spent a long time discussing whether or not it was sinful to eat meat that had been sacrificed to idols. His conclusion was that even if it is okay for a single individual, those decisions must be viewed within the context of the body of Christ, and how what you do affects those around you.
“Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin,” he says “I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” (1 Corinthians 8:13)

So that’s what I learned in October. Thanks for hanging out with me these last thirty-one days!

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This post is part of a 31-day series. A list of all the other posts in this series can be found here.

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