It’s no secret that America has a problem with disordered eating. In a land of abundance, food isn’t just fuel; it’s comfort, it’s reward, it’s entertainment.
I’m no exception to this trend, so this devotional is written from a place of weakness, not strength. But as I’ve been thinking about this month’s theme of “Food and Frolic”, I find myself meditating on St. Paul’s dictum that he who does not work shall not eat.
This verse comforts me because it reminds me what food is for. Food is a thing with a purpose. Food lets us work, and work is such a great good that it existed even before the Fall.
So in some ways food is a reward. It’s the proper end to a day full of employment. It’s the proper preparation for a day full of good work. It’s both a reward and a necessity. We need food to do the good things God has given us to do, and we are blessed with food after we do those good things. (Because, after all, if you plant the garden, you get to enjoy its fruits. If you put in the hours, you get the paycheck.)
I think this is why saying grace before our meals is one of the best correctives to the disordered American appetite. So many traditional table prayers contain within themselves a proper theology of food. My favorite is the very simple, “Bless, O Father, thy gifts to our use and us to thy service; for Christ’s sake.” This to us, Lord, and us to You. Or, as I prayed regularly once upon a time, “Lord, please bless this food, and may I use the energy I get from it to serve You.”
Peace of Christ to you,