bon_appetit2Summer 1976: Europe wilted in the grip of a record-breaking heat wave. In an effort to keep from suffocating in our un-air-conditioned Paris hotel room, my roommate and I opened the French doors that led onto the balcony. Across the street we could see a family in an upstairs apartment, enjoying their evening meal. As sleep eluded us, we continued to watch the family. An hour passed, then another hour and finally around midnight they cleared the table, turned off the lights and apparently went to bed.

The French really know how to enjoy a satisfying meal. Gatherings around food are almost sacred; the fare is wonderful, but perhaps more important is what happens during the time spent at the table. Mealtime is a means for people to connect and Europeans take it very seriously!

As a mom of grown children, I treasure those special times when our kids return home with their spouses. I love creating their favorite foods and serving wonderful meals that remind them of home and family. More important than the food, however, are the conversations that take place around the tablethe laughter, the stories, the stimulating discussions over dinner and long past when the dishes are cleared.

But let’s say my son or daughter stops at a mini-mart on their way home and fills up on chips, candy and soda while I am in the kitchen making final preparations for a wonderful home cooked meal. They come through the door, give me a hug, say, “Wow! The food smells wonderful!” But when it comes time to sit down to dinner they refuse. “No thanks. We stopped at the gas station for some snacks on the way into town so we’re not hungry.” Ridiculous! A home-cooked meal awaits, but they chose to fill up on junk food. Thankfully, that has never happened in our home.

Stopping at the Mini-Mart

But are we guilty of stopping at the mini-mart, so to speak, filling up on junk food, and refusing the eternally satisfying fare God offers? God extends an invitation to us in Isaiah 55 to come and feast at His table. He invites us, “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink…Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food. Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life…” (Isaiah 55:1-3).

The “finest food” God wants to share with us is His mercy and forgiveness, freely offered if we will only join Him at the table (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus continued the metaphor of food and drink when He described Himself as “living water” and the “bread of life.”

Don’t settle for junk food! Accept God’s invitation to come to the table and enjoy the soul-satisfying fare He offers in Jesus. Mercy, forgiveness and friendship await and He promises you won’t be disappointed!