Eating together is one of the best ways we can bless others. Jesus had a habit of eating with people, and you could write a whole theology paper about the importance of food in spiritual development. Eating together connects people and opens up new levels of conversation. I think, in our business and rush, that we are forgetting one of the most powerful ways to bless others and share Jesus.
I am a pastor, which means I go out for coffee and lunch all the time. It’s a rough job, but I can do it for Jesus! Over the years, I have picked up some tips about how to make the most of your spiritual impact when you are eating with others. My hope is that these tips can encourage you to apply this method of Jesus in your life, allowing Christ to use you to deeply bless others. It is fun
- Initiate the invitation. Don’t wait for others to invite you out to eat. When we are the ones who initiate, we are following the example of Christ and communicating to the other person, “I like you and want to spend time with you.” I am pretty bold, and I will even invite myself over to people’s house for dinner. I have been doing this since high school, and it still works (most of the time). Everyone has to eat, and it is better to eat together.
- Pray ahead of time. It is great to pray over the meal, but even more important is to pray in the days and hours ahead of the meal. What is going on in this person’s life? What are some stories or updates from your life that you want to share? Prayer is preparation, allowing God to use you to encourage the other person (which then encourages you).
- Have great conversations. Ask good questions, tell good stories, have an interesting perspective, and laugh a lot. Don’t take yourself too seriously and avoid giving too much advice (shame shuts people down). Blessing others is less about where you eat and more about who you eat with. If you bless others while you eat, they will want to eat with you a lot more.
- Be ready for a God moment. I am not saying that Jesus will turn your water into wine, but watch and see what happens when you love someone, listen well, and allow Jesus into the conversation naturally. I am amazed at how many God moments happen when I am eating with someone, and they actually happens MORE when I eat with non-Christians. People want to share about their lives, and I keep my eyes open for an opportunity to encourage, pray, give sympathy, or share a new perspective. Over time, these meals together really make an impact in a person’s life. Ever have someone say something that sticks with you for days, or years? That is what can happen when you are ready for a God moment.
- Know how to wrap it up. Meals aren’t meant to last forever. It is important to respect people’s time. Ending is an art, and the goal is to end in a way that has people wanting more.