We give thanks for the food before us because this was what Jesus did. In the miracle of the five loaves and the two fish, Jesus gave thanks before the multitudes before distributing the food (Matthew 14:19; Mark 6:41). He did the same at the Lord’s Supper (Mark 14:22-23) and when he was with the disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:30). Jesus was teaching the multitudes by his example- that He as the Son of God thanked God the Father for taking care of Him on earth. What more us?
Besides, whatever Jesus did, He backed up with His teachings. In Matt 6:31, He told the people to “take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? Or, What shall we drink…”. Why are we told not to worry? Because our Heavenly Father knows that we have need of all these things (v32). Think about it. We humans need to eat at least 3 meals a day, or whenever our stomach growls. If we were to constantly plan and get our next meal, we will never have the time to do anything else. Thus, when we could eat our meals so conveniently, it is really a sign of our Father’s love and care over our very basic, physical needs, so that we can focus on our service for Christ wherever He places us in. When we give thanks, we must sincerely thank God for maintaining our bodily needs, giving us health and strength. We must never take all these for granted.
Giving thanks at least 3 times a day helps us to remember God and cultivates in us a spirit of thanksgiving. We do not despise or scorn whatever is set before us, for they have being lovingly provided by God. 1 Timothy 4 say that there were false teachers who commanded the abstinence of meats but Paul refuted this teaching in v3-5 that meats “God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” This does not mean we can eat like a glutton or without any wisdom. 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” How we eat, drink and speak during meal times is a testimony to others. Hence, when we give thanks, let us also add the petition that God will help us to remember Him as we enjoy the delicious food!
In conclusion, there is nothing to feel shy about! It is our privilege and honour to give thanks to God for our food in the presence of others as it tells them about our Loving Father, and that we have a relationship with the God of heaven and earth.
(Written by Eileen Chee)