Reading through Michael Frost's little book, "Surprise the Word: The Five Habits of Highly Missional People," and today I look at the second habit: Eating. As with blessing three people a week (habit 1), now he recommends eating with three people a week - at least one of whom is not a member of your church.
I have to admit, this is a hard one for me to... swallow. I know everyone says we need to eat together, and that it is the most basic form of hospitality and whatnot. I am not disagreeing, but it is really hard for me to eat with others. It's one of the most uncomfortable things in the world for me to do - especially with people I don't know. I feel awkward, and it really stresses the introvert in me out. But... I know it's something I need to get over.
Frost brings up an interesting view I'd never heard before. English pastor and author Tim Chester once posed the question, "How would you complete the following sentence: 'The Son of Man came...'?" He says there are three ways that the New Testament completes that sentence; while the first two are well known, the third was a bit surprising to me:
- "The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).
- "The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).
- "The Son of Man came eating and drinking" (Luke 7:34).
This is a pretty good little chapter (and pretty convicting). Especially on p. 46 where Frost writes:
"The table ought to be the primary symbol of the Christian gathering. It represents hospitality, inclusivity, generosity, and grace. In many churches today, I suppose, the primary symbol might be the pulpit or the screen. These churches seem to believe that Jesus said, "Every time you meet together, listen to a sermon and sing." Now, I'm not against sermons or singing, but if we took Jesus' directive seriously, we'd know that the table is a better metaphor for Christian worship."
Again, I can't argue with any of this. As uncomfortable as it makes me, I do see the value in it. My only issue is the idea that it has to be EATING together. I would think the main point is the social aspect of interacting with others in a more casual atmosphere. I'd think it could be meeting for coffee or drinks. I've had many great discussions over a drink. Whatever gets us in the company of others; and them in our company.
So... as with the blessing... I know this is something I need to work on. I know it. And I'm probably not as bad at is as I think. However, as with anything else, it takes intentionality.