I have three favorite things that start with the letter F. If you know me personally, you probably already know what these things are but let’s just start with the first two: Food and Friendship.
And yes, they go together. There are many reasons why these are my two favorite F words. First off, (lots of F’s already), food is absolutely amazing. One of my best friends said this to me and I couldn’t agree more. Brace yourselves. God could have allowed us to eat mud. Think about it.
God could have thought to himself “okay, I made man and I need him to be fueled by something… okay, there’s plenty of dirt on the ground… He can just mix some water in the dirt, and tada! breakfast, lunch, and dinner!”
Gross, but practical and much easier than what God did decide to do. He instead, decided to give us tastebuds, different flavors, textures, and the ability to create. God actually has us come along side him and create (on a very small scale) similarly to how he created, well everything. Stay with me here. I’m talking all the good stuff – mouth watering German chocolate cakes with dark chocolate ganache, or savory Carbonara with homemade egg pasta, or fresh apple-walnut-leafy salad with a tangy dressing and goat cheese. God allows us to really enjoy food! He did not just give us dirt and say “have at it!” He wanted more for us, and wanted us to experience what it feels like to create something for enjoyment as well as nourishment. Food is not only a source of fuel but is actually a source of happiness, a source of comfort, and with all that comes community.
Which actually brings me to my second F word. Friendship. There are obvious reasons why friendship is one of my favorite F words (kind of hard to choose which F word goes first). For starters, friendship is essential to living life fully. I truly believe that life without friendship is meaningless, and actually not what God calls us to! God calls us to pray in numbers, to gather in community to worship and support one another, and give thanks for all that He has given us. After God created man, food, and animals, he then realized that it was not good for man to be alone! So (you know what comes next here) he created woman. Shortly after that, God created THE CHURCH. If you are lacking community, church is honestly the best place to start. I’ve caught myself repeating different versions of this phrase all the time on the podcast, but, here I am, writing it again: Being a follower of Christ is already hard, but doing that alone is impossible. Ultimately, we are not meant to live this life alone! That is why friendship is so important and again one of my favorite F words.
For my final and most important F word, Faith: I could have all the food and friendship in the world, but without faith – it would all go to pieces. Faith is what holds all of these F words in place. Faith that the conversations are good and life giving, that the insecurities, jealousies, and fears, all stay at a bare minimum. Faith that the food is nourishing, comforting, and welcoming to all who eat at the table. And finally, faith that God is welcomed to enter into the space without feeling shutout by the trivialities of the evening.
Now, for the fun part: the merging of all F words (not literally of course). The reason why I feel like food, friendship, and faith go so well together is because of the example that Jesus sets in the Bible. Consider the last supper – he has his closest friends gather together and share a meal in order to bring comfort, support, and nourishment to all involved. The last supper also allows Jesus the opportunity to have full confidence, or faith, that God would see him through despite knowing that one of his closest friends was to betray him.
There’s another food story that I love just as much in the Bible. Peter has just denied Jesus 3 times, and he’s pretty upset about it, so upset actually, that he returns back to his old occupation – fishing. Picture Peter, in his boat, trying to catch fish and striking out big time. Imagine him sitting there, thinking to himself of all that has passed the last several months: how he has completely failed, his heart broken over Jesus’ death, and how insecure he must be feeling at that exact moment because he couldn’t catch a single fish. Peter then sees a man who tells him to cast his net on the other side of the boat (sound familiar? Dejavu?). So Peter does, and immediately has fish in his net. He looks up again, imagine a double take, and sees Jesus on the shore starting a fire. Imagine Peter leaping out of the boat, swimming to Jesus on the shore, ecstatic to see his friend. Then there’s Jesus, doing the perfect thing (per usual) — making a meal for his friend Peter.
This is the beautiful part of the story – despite Peter’s failure, Jesus does not shame him, blame him, or even bring up Peter’s denial of their friendship that they both know his hanging in the air. He instead, prepares a meal and shows love, grace, and mercy to Peter, AND allows him the opportunity to renew his faith in Him, in Jesus, the son of God who loves his friend Peter. SO, whenever you think to yourself that the King of King’s does not love you, think of the three F’s.
Food – you could be eating mud right now.
Friendship – you are not alone in this.
Faith – God will see you through to the end.
So here’s the challenge, create an amazing meal with the people you love. Share your life with someone, be real with the people around you. Remember we were not meant to live this life alone, but rather with friendship, food, and faith.