I love food.

That probably won’t surprise you since I work at a restaurant. However, I truly believe something special happens when people join together for a good meal. It’s certainly not only about the food, but the food does play an important role.

Throughout Scripture, we see examples of people coming together for food and fellowship. Most of the Holy Days celebrated throughout the Old Testament included a meal as an essential element, with certain meals (including the Day of Passover) coming with prescribed entrees and side dishes. This tradition has continued through the years, as we continue to associate specific meals with seasons or days.

For example, our nation celebrated Independence Day last week, and I would hazard a guess that many of you cooked hamburgers and hot dogs before playing in the pool or watching fireworks on the evening of the 4th. Later this year, we’ll join our families once again for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a few weeks before, you’ll likely start seeing more whole turkeys at the grocery store.

You may even have memories associated with specific types of food. I can’t eat haluski without thinking of my Slovakian grandmother who we affectionately referred to as “Bubba.” I fell in love with Mexican food thanks to my youth leader, Norma, who introduced me to authentic mole. These days, when I eat mole, I don’t just savor the taste, but I reflect on the role that Norma and her husband, Carl, played in shaping my faith and making me the person I am today.

What is it about the food that we eat that provides greater significance beyond giving us energy and keeping us alive? The way I see it, God, in His great providence, didn’t just give us a life to live out of obligation or necessity. Sure, some days are more draining than others, and there are seasons of life where we feel like we are surviving more than we are thriving. At the same time, life often allows us to experience great joy, whether it’s sharing sweet memories with family, engaging in a hobby that refreshes our soul and gives us a sense of mastery or accomplishment, and, yes, indulging in something tasty that fills our stomach and nourishes our spirit at the same time.

With these things in mind, my challenge to you is simple: take time to enjoy some good food. Perhaps it’s a Chick-fil-A sandwich meal with a side of waffle fries and a sweet tea (personal tip: try Chick-fil-A and buffalo sauce mixed together – it’s one of my favorites). Perhaps it’s a home-cooked meal that you enjoy slowly with your family, taking additional time to linger over conversation and laughter. Perhaps you call an old friend who you’ve lost touch with and invite them to reconnect over lunch at your favorite old stomping grounds.

As you enjoy these moments, remember that the food isn’t the central focus, but it’s not an unimportant detail either. When you enjoy good food, remember the God who created your taste buds and provided you with an abundance of blessings to savor and enjoy.

-David Grimm