Discipleship: The Danger 3

You ever stop and pay attention to mealtime prayers? I do. When I was a kid, I had it down pat.

God is good. God is great. Thank you for this food. Amen.

The speedier it was said the better. Later, when Mom caught we weren’t really paying attention, all of us had to go around the table and share one thing for which we were thankful. For lack of creativity, every meal, for many years, it was, Thankyoujesusforthisfoodamen. Pure torture for any 9 year old.

And I can remember being absolutely mortified when my family would go out to eat and as a family we’d pray before the meal. Because without fail, the waitress would walk up to the table right then. And man, would that be weird. At least in my head.

But what if it matters to stop for 15 seconds and acknowledge God in the very ordinary act of eating? It’s a most basic pattern of structured prayer.

This week we’ve considered pride in the life of a Jesus-follower.

A disciple’s greatest danger is spiritual pride.

You want to know the antidote to the poison of pride? I say it’s gratitude.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I pray before I eat (whether in my house, or yes, even now when I’m in a restaurant), it’s to say one simple word, no more, no less: Thanks. Thanks for such an amazing God. Thanks for some incredible food I’m about to savor. Thanks for the fantastic friends with whom I’m sharing this food.

No, I don’t “bless the food,” as if laying hands on the 2,000 calories of cheese fries magically/spiritually won’t now give me a heart attack. And no, I don’t silently bow my head in private. If my eating is in community, then my saying thanks is also in community.

The ever-jolly English writer G.K. Chesteron put it so well:

You say grace before meals.  All right.  But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

So pay attention. Say thanks. For everything. All the time. Even right now. Gratitude offers pride no place to get a grip on you.



About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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