Lord's Day Liturgy

By the Plateful

This is not an exhortation about being fat. It is another #NoDisorderedContentmentDecember exhortation. But since today’s sermon is about feasting, about integrating our contentment in God through what He gives us, this reminds us that comparatively, any contentment apart from Him is out of order.

When I moved to Los Angeles for seminary in 1997 I arrived with more books in my car than dollars in the bank. I knew one guy who lived in CA already, and he regularly treated me to well-buttered sesame bagels and introduced me to Ramen noodles. I’m not talking about Cup-o-Noodles, that was out of my economic bracket. I’m talking about the (at the time) 25¢ packs. There was one week that my meals included 21 packs of Ramen, and one burger from Carl’s Jr. I was running lean.

After about eight months of that, Mo and I got engaged, I started hanging out at their house, and her mom rediscovered that her cooking was amazing, since there was a new and eager mouth. I started eating each meal at their house as if it might be my last meal ever. It was tasty, the conversation at the table was flavorful, and I measured my intake by the plateful.

Over the course of the next couple years I gained about 80 pounds, and I didn’t need at least 70 of them. My belly was full, my hunger content.

Of all God’s prophetic donkeys it was a random comment from Oprah that brought me to repentance. She said something about looking to food as a comfort. I had been content to depend on food, and proved that I had not been content to trust God for my daily bread. I missed the proverb, “give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny You” (Proverbs 30:8-9a). I was denying the Lord in practice. My contentment was disordered, and it showed.