What We're About
The Common Bond
What is one thing that links all people regardless of faith, ethnicity, or background? Food. From the moment we enter this world, we need food to strengthen and nourish our small, growing bodies. When we get a bit older, food quickly begins to take on another meaning, bringing together friends and family for times of love and fellowship. Later in life, as we tackle the frequently chaotic daily challenges of our work and family lives, food takes on another, more pleasurable, meaning, a brief and hopefully satisfying respite from a busy schedule. However, no matter what meanings we might attach to food at different stages of our lives, its original purpose always remains. In God's incredible design, we need food to strengthen and nourish our bodies, maintaining the good health we need to live vibrant lives. Of course, in a world dominated by cheap, fast and processed food, it's easy to forget about the important relationship between food and health in God's design. With more and more of our food barely resembling anything that we might imagine could have been in the Garden of Eden, it is no wonder that Christians and non-believers alike are losing strength and seeing their health fail. For the believer, food has become yet another fork in the road. While it’s ok to enjoy a pretzel or special treat occasionally, good health has to be earned. Tough choices have to be made, choosing our long term health over short term pleasure. But, we know it's not always so easy.
We love to eat, we enjoy meals out, and every week we are confronted with the choice whether to consume food that is harmful to our bodies. For us, thinking of good health simply for the sake of good health isn’t always that helpful. However, thinking of good health for the sake of the Kingdom of God has been a game changer. Even with churches full of Christians struggling with sickness, obesity and poor health, most pastors won’t touch the subject of healthy eating (not another restriction!) and some have even told us “it’s not their job” to encourage their congregation to be healthy. We could not disagree more! In 1 Corinthians, God tells us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and are to be used for the glory of God. Whether we eat, drink, or whatever we do, we should do all to the glory of God. How can we “go and make disciples of all nations” if we are sick and depressed? How can we be a “light of the world” if we can barely make it out of bed? God has an incredible purpose and plan for our lives and we should do our part to be as able, equipped and prepared to live out His plan as possible. In a fallen world, of course, we will be afflicted by sickness and disease, but just like any other symptom of this broken world, we should take the practical steps available to us to avoid it, so that it might not hinder us as we run the race set before us. In 1 Timothy, Paul advises Timothy, who is struggling with stomach sickness, to take the steps available to him to purify his drinking water and avoid getting sick. Why? So that Timothy would not be hindered in his important mission of helping spread the gospel of Jesus. Just like Timothy, Paul, and every other Christian who ever lived, we have an important mission and we should do what we can to avoid being hindered on our way to accomplishing it. What would Paul say if we explained that we couldn’t go and do the mission God called us to because of the effects of a food we just couldn’t resist? (Did you know that some studies found that sugar is similarly addictive to cocaine?)
Some might take this moment to point out that God can use anyone in any circumstance and provide a few exceptional examples of people that have done great things for the Kingdom while struggling with physical infirmities. Amen! That is so true and glory to God for His ability to overcome any obstacle! However, those infirmities are almost never by choice and the exception is still the exception. And is it our intention to make ourselves as difficult as possible for God to use? Certainly not - rather, we want to be as ready and able to be used as possible. Others might ask, “what about prayer?”, “can’t God heal anything?”. Of course, we believe in the power of prayer and that God can heal any ailment, no matter how severe. While that is true, Jesus healed blindness in different ways and God heals our ailments in different ways, whether it be by a doctor, medicine, miracle, or by simply giving us the strength and ability to overcome it ourselves. Nothing is taken away from God by us taking care of our bodies - quite the opposite, in fact, as we use His amazing design to nourish, strengthen and heal our bodies using the healthy food He created for us, glorifying Him in the process.
The gift of free choice doesn’t end with the decision whether to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. It extends to many areas of our lives including our food choices. We can eat what pleases our appetite in the short term and endure the consequences, even if they delay God’s plan for our lives and hamper our effectiveness, or we can make the choices that help us "live a life worthy of the calling we have received.” This isn’t about “clean" or "unclean” foods, it isn’t about telling you what to eat or how to eat it, it is an encouragement to make the choices that will help you be healthy and live abundantly, being fit, strong and prepared for your part in advancing the Kingdom of God. This will impact our families, our workplaces, our churches, and our ability in the world as Christians to shine and advance the Kingdom of God. None of us will ever be perfect, sometimes we’ll enjoy that giant pretzel or another treat, we will fail sometimes, and that is ok - we do have a Jesus who will hear our prayers, pick us up, and give us the strength to do better next time, for His glory!
We always extend the invitation to serve with us at one of our Free Farmers’ Market events - sign up at TheFreePantry.com. If you are in need of healthy fruits and vegetables, we are always happy to share and God will always be faithful to provide.