Greedy Gratitude 30 Day Devotional
Day 5 - The Food On My Table
“I give you thanks, O LORD, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness; for your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength. Every king in all the earth will thank you, LORD, for all of them will hear your words. Yes, they will sing about the LORD’s ways, for the glory of the LORD is very great. Though the LORD is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud. Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. The LORD will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O LORD, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.”
Psalms 138:1-8 NLT
It’s such a simple thing, you know, to be thankful for food on our tables, food in our pantries, food in our refrigerators. Even if there isn’t a lot of it, for most of us there is at least…something. At times, it’s often way too easy to take advantage of the simple things in life and forget our gratitude towards them. Especially the peanut butter and jelly on the shelf. Extravagant Thankfulness doesn’t just find gratitude for the big things but Psalm 118 reminds us that God is ever so faithful with the “small stuff.” Things like “encouragement” and “strength.” Things like “humility” and “faithful” love. Trusting this God who “made us” will sustain us. And, one of the sustaining pieces in our lives is the food on our table.
My father was a man of gratitude. He prayed and continued to pray before every meal thanking God for what is on the plate in front of him. I used to think it was just “his generation” but the longer I live I see that true gratitude is a gift. How often do we dig into the grub we’ve prepared or was handed through the drive-through and didn’t even think twice about shouting up a prayer of gratitude to our God of provision. For the job. For the paycheck. For the food stamps. With a family of five children, my dad would literally wait until everyone was seated. Then, we would grab hands and pray.
“Our heavenly Father, we are thankful for all the blessings you have given us. We thank you for this food we are going to partake. Bless the hands that prepared it and may it bless our bodies as well. Amen.”
Something like that…and at 93, he still doesn’t miss a beat. How about you? In this fast and furious entitled world we live in, grocery stores and restaurants are a dime a dozen. We don’t very often think about where we will get our next meal. We just expect that it will arrive, somewhere, somehow. It seems like I see families less and less take a moment to pray when eating out in public. I wonder if there is any change when they are in private.
One of my favorite outreaches that we do at 29:11 is called Hands Out. We head down to one of our urban areas were those who don’t always have a next meal hang out. We pick up pizza and hand out hot slices up and down the street. This simple act has humbled me beyond measure. To think how simple just a hot slice of pizza can bless the soul of a human being? Gratitude rises with every piece. It always brings me back to the table sitting with my dad. We shouldn’t need to travel across the world to remind ourselves that food on our table is a privilege and a God given gift. I’ll never understand why I get to partake of it and somebody else doesn’t. But what I can do is take a moment to pause and thank God like the Psalmist does in Psalm 118. The power of our God “saves us” in more ways than one. The next time you make that PBJ sandwich or grab for those hot fries inside the McDonald’s bag, take a moment to thank Him for the food on your table. Extravagant Thanksgiving is a direction indication of what is in your heart.
ACTION STEP: Take a moment today to stop and pray over every meal THANKING GOD for what is before you. Whether you're driving in the car or sitting at a table, lead out a prayer in front of those who are with you to say, “Thanks.”
EVEN MORE: Take on the simple challenge today to provide food for someone who is begging for money or food on a street corner on your way to wherever you are going. Take the time to park your car and walk over a bottle of water, or a hamburger and fries…or something else. You will see their eyes LIGHT UP with gratitude.