I like food and I like parties and I think God does too. I also think the church is overdo for some practical potluck theology.
Numerous passages in Scripture encourage the enjoyment of food and drink (Eccl. 9:7; Isa. 25:6; Rev. 19:9.) Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding party (John 2:1-11). He enjoyed enough dinner parties to be accused of being a drunkard and a glutton (Matt. 11:19) and he shared a post-resurrection beach barbecue with his disciples (Luke 24:40-43). 1 Corinthians 10:31 even says, “…whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Every aspect of a Christian’s life, including a potluck, has the potential to honor God.
So here are three practical tips for making the most of our church potlucks:
1. Make It Homemade
Far too many potlucks reveal the same scenario. It’s minutes before meal time. Little thought or effort has gone into preparing, so a mad dash is made to the grocery store. The cheapest, most convenient item is snatched up and subsequently plunked down on the table. (I understand that not everyone has the funds and/or talent for food, but this is not usually the issue.)
Instead, pull out your best recipe, spend some time in the kitchen (or over the grill) and put some heart and soul into it. It shows that you care and it’s a tangible demonstration of love for those who will partake of your culinary creation.
2. Consider Others
Potlucks have a way of turning humble saints into greedy gluttons (reference the Corinthians and Paul’s rebuke in 1 Cor. 11:17-34). The first few leave a tornado-like path of destruction while the rest of the poor souls sift through the rubble.
Let’s remember that this meal is not about getting your needs met (in this case, your stomach full) and it’s not about everyone getting what they want. It’s about people coming together in unity and doing what they can to demonstrate that other people are more important than themselves (Phil. 2:3).
3. Be Present
The best kind of feasts include much more than what goes in our mouths. They involve celebration, laughter, conversation, and people being present in the moment. While the food and drink should be savored and enjoyed, so should the people.
Be where you are. Don’t rush through the moment. Interact with others… tell stories. Get to know someone new. Laugh, play and take your time and don’t keep your face stuck in your phone.
When we do these things we will begin to understand and experience for ourselves why God values the celebration of the shared meal.
What have you experienced at your church potlucks and food celebrations?