To B.L.E.S.S. your neighbor, Jesus invites you to eat with them.

What if loving others could be as simple as eating with them? For Jesus, it was. Most of his ministry was centered around meals- Listening, teaching, and loving those he ate with. In Jesus’s culture, eating with others was a statement of friendship. He was often found eating with people who were considered “non-religious” sinners and outcasts. Despite the pushback from religious leaders, Jesus chose to eat with others as a way of affirming that person’s dignity, value, and worth. He ate with everyone and anyone, and as people who follow Jesus, we are invited to go deeper in relationships by doing the same!

How do I begin to eat with people?

It might seem like a silly question, but there are actually several mental roadblocks that can keep us from eating with others. Thankfully, there are also simple shifts we can make to overcome them.

3 Common Myths Around Eating with Others
  1. Myth: I have to have a nice home or fancy food to eat with others
    1. Shift: It’s about the people, not the place or what you’re eating. Take the concept of “Entertaining” to impress and throw it out the window! Invite folks to eat out, to gather with bagged lunch, or to join in a typical mid-week meal that you were already preparing. You don’t need endless resources to make someone feel valued around a meal.
  2. Myth: I have to facilitate flawless conversation that’s awkward free and ends with discussing Jesus
    1. Shift: Eating together sets the stage for LISTENING, so just ask questions! The list below can get you started. The goal of the conversation is to love and learn about the other person. Trust God to guide you!
      1. Where did you grow up?
      2. What kinds of jobs have you had in your career?
      3. What do you do for fun?
      4. What are your dreams for the future?
      5. Where did you meet? (If married or dating)
  3. Myth: I have to build in extra time to eat with people
    1. Shift: Consider that you eat around twenty-one times a week. That time is already reserved! It will take some intentionality to get started, but take a step by dedicating a few of those meal windows to becoming spaces for others. Here are some questions to get you started!
      1. Who is already in proximity to you during meal times that you could invite to join you?
      2. What could it look like to invite your neighbors over for a meal?
      3. What activities are you a part of that you could invite others to eat together before/after?
Start Here

Using the ideas listed above, open up your calendar and look at the meal time windows that you have scheduled. Pray for God to inspire you and then start writing down who you could invite to join you for some of those meals.

Go Deeper

Check out this previously-aired discussion with Ben and friend, pastor and author Arron Chambers to go deeper on this topic of eating together and to discuss concepts around loving others across the table. 


Process the ways that sharing a meal have been impactful to you and could be impactful to others.

  1. When was a time that you connected with others in a meaningful way around food? Reflect on this time. Who was there? What about the experience made you feel loved?
  2. What excuses do you make for not sharing a meal with someone? Ask God for insight around why that is and how He wants to change you.
  3. Read about Jesus’s ministry in the book of Matthew. As you read, keep a list of times that Jesus eats with others. Reflect on these interactions. In what ways does Jesus elevate meals to go from nourishing someone's body to connecting with them on a deeper level?

Read, Watch, Listen

Links to media, books or podcast to learn more.

Eating with Sinners: Loving Like Jesus
The Gospel Comes with a House Key
From Tablet to Table
The Simplest Way to Change the World: Biblical Hospitality as a Way of Life
Making Room

How is God challenging and changing you as you BLESS those around you?

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