Memorable Meals… and the others

Last night my wife and I were home alone for the first time in quite some time.  We ate in our backyard, which has grown to be a forest over the 15 years we’ve been in Seattle.  With steaks, mushrooms, green beans, grilled onions, and a bottle of wine, we ate together.  We spoke of the past weeks; graduations, kids moving home, kids moving out.  We spoke of the future, of our marriage, of growing older.  The sun sets through the leaves of vine maples, while birds herald the close of the day with their doxology.  It wasn’t some sort of spectacular evening, but it was very memorable.

And then there were the rest of the meals since the last memorable one.  Some of them were taken alone, some on the run, some as a family but without the leisure of lingering.  You don’t get sunsets, lingering, and marvelous presence and conversation every single time you eat, or at least I don’t.  Still, we show up at the table.  We eat, and though it’s not necessarily memorable, good things happen.  Nutrients are broken down in the digestive tract and absorbed into our bodies, giving us the strength to do all that we do.

It could be argued that the memorable meals have more value than the forgettable ones, and at a level that would be true.  On the other hand, try limiting your eating to only those moments when you have the leisure of cooking fresh ingredients, setting a lovely table, and lingering long beyond the last bite, enjoying layers of conversation as the candles burn low and the wine glass empties.  If I only ate then, I’d never eat, because I’d be dead by now.  The common meals are vital because they sustain us and make the profound meals possible.

All of this is important because, as my friend Nancy points out, we need the same mindset when we approach reading the Bible.  There will be days when our Bible reading is utterly forgettable, sometimes two or more days in a row.  That’s no reason to quit though, because the truth is that those days have a sustaining effect of which we might not be aware, just like I can’t tell you right now what I had for lunch yesterday, or for breakfast Monday, but I know it was important.  II Corinthians 3:16-18 tells us that if we just keep showing up, we’ll be transformed.  The transformation, on any given day, might not be quantifiable, memorable, or stirring.  It will though, like Monday’s forgettable breakfast, be valuable.

I encourage you to find a way to add Bible reading to your diet.  There are resources here (for slackers), and here.  365 Days with E. Stanley Jones is also a marvelous tool if you’re looking for something very, very simple.  Whatever you do though, eat, and be sustained, strengthened, changed by the eating.  Some days will be memorable.  Most won’t.  Eat anyway, and you’ll find strength and direction for the adventures to which you’re called.

What are you habits, frustrations, successes, questions, hesitancies, when it comes to Bible reading?

Cheers…

About Richard Dahlstrom

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

  • dave

    Richard, I’m drawn in, convicted and uplifted by the analogy. Thanks.

    P.S. With sun at a premium these days, I’m glad I don’t live directly to the north of your forest!

    • fluger

      Absolutely agree. Great analogy and very convicting. Thank you for this message.

  • raincitypastor

    Thankfully the folk who live just north of us bought the place just a few years ago, when their backyard had already become “northern exposure”. They like trees!

  • Kristen

    It’s been over a year now of me wrestling with the idea of reading the word, wanting to, yet not desiring it. I know in previous seasons God has blessed me in the faithfulness of me being in his word; yet, I have lost the importance of being in his presence and reading the word daily. Thank you, Nancy and Richard for sharing. I am pressing on and am thankful for the encouragement along the way.

    Blessings to you!


Memorable Meals… and the others

Last night my wife and I were home alone for the first time in quite some time.  We ate in our backyard, which has grown to be a forest over the 15 years we’ve been in Seattle.  With steaks, mushrooms, green beans, grilled onions, and a bottle of wine, we ate together.  We spoke of the past weeks; graduations, kids moving home, kids moving out.  We spoke of the future, of our marriage, of growing older.  The sun sets through the leaves of vine maples, while birds herald the close of the day with their doxology.  It wasn’t some sort of spectacular evening, but it was very memorable.

And then there were the rest of the meals since the last memorable one.  Some of them were taken alone, some on the run, some as a family but without the leisure of lingering.  You don’t get sunsets, lingering, and marvelous presence and conversation every single time you eat, or at least I don’t.  Still, we show up at the table.  We eat, and though it’s not necessarily memorable, good things happen.  Nutrients are broken down in the digestive tract and absorbed into our bodies, giving us the strength to do all that we do.

It could be argued that the memorable meals have more value than the forgettable ones, and at a level that would be true.  On the other hand, try limiting your eating to only those moments when you have the leisure of cooking fresh ingredients, setting a lovely table, and lingering long beyond the last bite, enjoying layers of conversation as the candles burn low and the wine glass empties.  If I only ate then, I’d never eat, because I’d be dead by now.  The common meals are vital because they sustain us and make the profound meals possible.

All of this is important because, as my friend Nancy points out, we need the same mindset when we approach reading the Bible.  There will be days when our Bible reading is utterly forgettable, sometimes two or more days in a row.  That’s no reason to quit though, because the truth is that those days have a sustaining effect of which we might not be aware, just like I can’t tell you right now what I had for lunch yesterday, or for breakfast Monday, but I know it was important.  II Corinthians 3:16-18 tells us that if we just keep showing up, we’ll be transformed.  The transformation, on any given day, might not be quantifiable, memorable, or stirring.  It will though, like Monday’s forgettable breakfast, be valuable.

I encourage you to find a way to add Bible reading to your diet.  There are resources here (for slackers), and here.  365 Days with E. Stanley Jones is also a marvelous tool if you’re looking for something very, very simple.  Whatever you do though, eat, and be sustained, strengthened, changed by the eating.  Some days will be memorable.  Most won’t.  Eat anyway, and you’ll find strength and direction for the adventures to which you’re called.

What are you habits, frustrations, successes, questions, hesitancies, when it comes to Bible reading?

Cheers…

About Richard Dahlstrom

As Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, Richard teaches with vision of "making the invisible God visible" by calling people to acts of service and blessing. It's working, as a wilderness ministry, homeless shelter, and community meals that serve those living on the margins are all pieces of Bethany's life. "We're being the presence of Christ" he says, "and inviting everyone to join the adventure." Many have, making Bethany one of the fastest growing churches in America in 2009 according to Outreach Magazine.

  • dave

    Richard, I’m drawn in, convicted and uplifted by the analogy. Thanks.

    P.S. With sun at a premium these days, I’m glad I don’t live directly to the north of your forest!

    • fluger

      Absolutely agree. Great analogy and very convicting. Thank you for this message.

  • raincitypastor

    Thankfully the folk who live just north of us bought the place just a few years ago, when their backyard had already become “northern exposure”. They like trees!

  • Kristen

    It’s been over a year now of me wrestling with the idea of reading the word, wanting to, yet not desiring it. I know in previous seasons God has blessed me in the faithfulness of me being in his word; yet, I have lost the importance of being in his presence and reading the word daily. Thank you, Nancy and Richard for sharing. I am pressing on and am thankful for the encouragement along the way.

    Blessings to you!


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X