As I sat in our kitchen one day about two years ago, feeding my one-year-old son his lunch and eating my own, I began to think about food and how much I hoped that my son would grow up with a taste for foods from all over the world. That led me to thinking that I just wanted him to know about all the different groups of people in the world, to understand what a great, diverse, and colorful place this world is. I want him to know how these things point to the greatness, creativity and glory of God, who has “measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,” and “with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens. Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,” and “weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance.” (Isaiah 40:12)
I grew up in a home of daily devotions around the dinner table during which my father would often pull out our copy of Operation World and allow my brothers and me to pick any country we liked. Dad would read to us about the country, we would talk about any missionaries our family knew who might live there, and then we would pray together for the people and needs there. On our kitchen wall we had a gigantic world map which was bordered on all four sides with pictures of loved ones and missionaries for whom my family prayed throughout the years. Pins marked on the map the location of each person or family and I spent many hours in front of them considering the faces, work, and lives represented in each one. I wish I could say that I sat patiently through our devotions and obediently and hungrily absorbed the things Dad was trying to teach us, but I’d be lying. However, those Operation World lessons caught my attention and something about the thought of these different lands and different cultures excited me and made a lasting connection in my mind.
Along with devotions around the table, my mother served us many delicious meals there. Often they were the favorites served at just about any table across our country then and now, but my mom also occasionally served us foods from other countries or with biblical significance. One that I still serve in my home now was Jacob’s Pottage. I can’t stir those lentils and rice, pour the lemon-paprika dressing that accompanies it, or take a delicious bite without thinking about Esau coming home ravenous from hunting, and understanding just a little bit, how he could have sold his birthright to his brother for the sake of that simple meal. Something about the food brings the story close to home for me and I still remember giggling with delight when Mom told me that this meal we were eating could be very like the one in the Bible from so long ago. It was history on the table right in front of me! It made the story seem real and possible, rather than like some story from the past in some far away land with no connection to me and my life here.
And so, sitting with my son as he gleefully consumed fist-fulls of broccoli and cottage cheese, I pondered how to go about making those same connections for him. A desire I have had since the moment I knew I was pregnant with him was to impart an understanding and love for the greatness of God and the love He holds for all of His people of every shape and size, every color and hue, and from every country. I want the connections to be strong, the lessons to be colorful and interesting, and for him to appreciate and value the importance of the work that missionaries do in the world. I believe that this is a desire with which any believing parent can identify.
That is going to be the goal of some of my upcoming posts over the next few months: To give children food that nourishes their bodies, hearts and minds and that creates with each meal a picture of another place in this world. I’d like to provide some recipes and information that brings into present focus the reality of the work missionary families are doing to spread the precious word of God around the world. It is my hope that through this learning God will be glorified as our children begin to piece together an understanding of the greatness and mighty works of the God to whom we look for all things and to whom we owe all things.
Does this sound interesting to any of you at all?