I recently read a quote from Kentucky author Wendell Berry that stirred something very deep inside of me. For those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Berry’s work, he has a knack for painting beautiful pictures with words that illuminate the everyday happenings of life as we know it.
This he said of eating: “Eating with the fullest pleasure – pleasure that is, that does not depend on ignorance – is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.”
When was the last time that we sat down to eat and were captured with such a sense of awe and genuine gratitude?
With Thanksgiving just another week away, the majority of us will join hands, offer thanks to God for the meal and the blessings of the year and then proceed to tenaciously devour the feast set before us as if it may be the last meal we ever eat! Though Mr. Berry does not explicitly acknowledge God as the source of mystery and the wielder of incomprehensible power, those of us with Spiritual eyes and ears cannot see or hear those words without our eyes being directed heavenward.
Berry seems to grasp the mystery of the mundane. Do we as Christians do the same?
When we sit to eat, are we moved to wonder and worship as we consider not only the immeasurable kindness of God in His provision, but the affairs of the universe which He sovereignly orchestrates for the good of His creation? As I read the quote, I was frozen with the realization of all that God had done and was doing to make my every meal possible. He has created all things – every plant and bush, every tree, every animal, every fish and every breeze. He causes the sun to shine. He commands the rains to shower the earth at His appointed times. He has spoken into being things not only seen but also powers unseen. (Colossians 1:16)
God, in His vast wisdom and power, has created and is sustaining gravity and photosynthesis and molecular reproduction and development of plants and animals. He controls weather systems and seasons. God grows the grains of the field and births every animal that draws breath. God and God alone is the giver of every good and perfect gift. It is truly by His hand that we are fed.
But don’t be mistaken. God’s goodness and provision is not limited to the table. I challenge you to seek for the mystery in the mundane. Did you sleep last night? Consider all that physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually transpired for that to be a possibility. Did you exercise this morning? Contemplate the intricacies and complexities of the human body. You’re reading this right now. How? I trust you see my point.
If we discipline ourselves to slow down just a bit this Thanksgiving season, we will find it increasingly easy to heed the command of 1 Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” That is the essence of thanksgiving.
May the good God of heaven give us grace to be mindful of His blessings and be moved to wonder and worship as we give Him thanks. “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good.” – 1 Chronicles 16:34