Guest Post! A Food Lover on the Grace of Taste

{Welcome to the blog, Tim!}

I love the way food tastes, how it feels, the sight of it; the smell of a cooking kitchen. I’ll try just about anything that is standard fare somewhere on the planet, so I’ve tried a lot of foods, and almost always to my benefit. Even though I love good eats, I’m pretty indiscriminate. I can eat pizza every day for a week and still say yes if someone suggests it for the next meal. I love soups from black bean to butternut, gazpacho to garbanzo, lentil to leek. Casseroles? Bring ‘em on, along with steaks, ribs, burgers, and all the fresh fruits and vegetables that, here in California, are abundant year-round.

God didn’t have to give us such wonderful senses of taste and smell so we can enjoy food so much. God could have given us merely moderate senses so that we would eat what we need to for sustenance but not necessarily have the ability to enjoy food to such an extravagant degree.

And that’s what it is–extravagance. Our God has created us with extravagant grace and it’s a common grace for all–like being able to breathe air and enjoy the feel of warm sunlight on our skin and marvel at the sights offered by a walk through a pine forest. To that list I add the experience of taste. And I think there’s a spiritual component to it, too.

Not only does the Bible use food imagery in describing our relationship with God and all God’s goodness toward people, but it  appears also to tell us that we can actually partake of God in a spiritual sense just as we do food in the physical sense. Here are some examples.

  • God invites us to a feast and overwhelms us with love. (Song of Songs 2:4-5)
  • Can’t afford the price of admission? God covers the tab:“Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” (Isaiah 55:1-2)
  • And both our hunger and thirst are eternally satisfied:

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’” (John 6:35.)

With God the functional and the spiritual are always inseparable, so can these word pictures that use food perhaps be more than mere metaphors?

Yes, and Jesus – the Living Water and Bread of Life himself – showed us how.

At the wedding reception in John 2:1-12, the host feared disaster, having miscalculated how much wine he’d need. What did Jesus do? At the urging of his mother, he turned water into wine. Not some boxed red, as some of us might have done, but a notable vintage.

God’s food isn’t only spiritual.

And our enjoyment of food isn’t only functional.

Our ability to taste is God-given–perhaps so that we can understand what it means to taste and see that God is good. In the miracle at Cana, the disciples believed–not merely by seeing, but by tasting the wine as proof of his goodness.

One day we’ll all celebrate a feast that will allow our spirits and our bodies to experience together God’s sustenance as it is truly meant to be enjoyed.

In the meantime, I will enjoy the good food God gives me to taste here and now as a reminder of the great banquet to come.

{Tim is a California native who changed his major three times, colleges four times, and took six years to get a Bachelor’s degree in a subject he’s never been called on to use professionally. Married for over 24 years with two kids now in college, his family is constant evidence of God’s abundant blessings in his life. He and his wife live in Northern California.}

18 thoughts on “Guest Post! A Food Lover on the Grace of Taste

    1. Thanks Ellen. Taste buds are an awesome part of God’s grace, aren’t they? I am so glad you enjoyed this article, and that Rachel gave me a chance to share here at EwJ.

      Tim

      P.S. Yep, you might have seen me at her.meneutics. I also just did a guest piece on retail marketing, data mining and Satan for Kim at kingdomcivics.com.

  1. Tim, you’ve been pumping out some great articles. This topic is one that I think of often b/c I just love good food and good drink! It is such an extravagant blessing. I too look forward to the great feast in our future.

    And, Rachel, I love the header of your blog–so mod.

    1. Thanks Aimee. I’m glad you came by to read this and to check out EwJ (and Rachel’s articles are even more interesting than her awesomely mod header!).

      Sometimes when I think of taste buds, that song from Oliver runs through my head: “Food, Glorious Food!” What a blessing!

      Tim

  2. Tim, loved it as always! I so agree. I often think of color along these same lines. God could have made everything all one color and we wouldn’t have known any better. But no, He brought such color into this world — even in people. That’s another one — God made us all so different, such variety in the way people are created. It’s beautiful! Crazy! Extravagant!

    Thanks for the reminder Tim!

    1. Great thought about colors, Jane. And then there are sounds too. Walking on the beach and hearing waves and gulls and sea lions and kids laughing, what a gracious treat!

      Thanks for coming over to visit.

      Tim

  3. It is so refreshing to see food as nourishment & as pleasure. Our society paints food as the enemy & as something that can kill you. We Christians know that God created us to enjoy food & enjoy the bodies He gifted us with.

  4. Wow–my views of food (the absolute love, the inclusive tastes) are so similar to yours! I think that in the church, we often associate the enjoyment of food with gluttony, and so we feel guilty over our pure delight in it. While we can, of course, turn any good thing into a bad thing, I love how you point out that our sense of taste is a GOOD thing, and a blessing from God. And you’re so right: the Spirit seems to love metaphors comparing God to food.

    “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”

    1. Kim, that verse was on my mind too. We are told we can actually get a spiritual taste of God himself! Amazing and extravagant all at the same time. Thanks for taking the time to visit EwJ, Kim.

      Tim

  5. Yes, food is such a wonderful example of God’s extravagence. It’s so easy to look at the pain and trouble in the world and ask, “Where is God?” — and so easy to overlook God in the everyday graces of his creation and sustenance. Thanks for this beautiful reminder of his gratuitous grace (an intentional tautology!).

    Love reading your stuff, Tim!

    1. Karen, I love tautologies! In fact, I’d say that some of my best moment are when I’m tautologically tautological. (I’m really glad you visited here so that I could throw that phrase out there for all to see, Karen.)

      Which reminds me of another common grace: words and language. God could have left us without the ability to communicate, yet he gives us such richness in language. We can be sweet, sour, bitter and savory with our words every bit as much as with our food. To borrow a phrase, it really is gratuitous grace.

      Tim

  6. As it turns out, the anthropomorphic argument is more than just a case for God, but also a case for grace in our own lives. Thanks, Tim.

    Nick

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