THEY ATE WITH GLADNESS AND SINCERITY OF HEART

THEY ATE WITH GLADNESS AND SINCERITY OF HEART

One of the ironies of our Christian faith is that we worship a God who chose to come to us as a poor man. As the son of a first century, Jewish carpenter, Jesus probably ate just barely enough to keep him healthy; enough calories and general nutrition to keep him going, with little if any to spare. Think of it: the One who created all that exists lived on earth with only just enough and when he selected His twelve apostles He chose men from the same socio-economic class, men who would all be astonished beyond words if they were to be brought in to one of our "fellowship meals.” You just didn't have that much food surrounding you as you struggled to survive the rigorous life of a first century fisherman…or carpenter. Of course, as a "tax collector” Matthew could have had more money coming in (if he chose to be corrupt), but in most cases you would never get rich as an "IRS agent” in ancient Palestine.

On this "fifth Sunday” we're going to do something that would blow their minds, our spiritual forefathers, the first disciples of Christ. Oh they would be familiar with the idea of eating together; they did a lot more of it than we ever do; they would never dream of doing it less; but for them it would be a simple meal, very low in fat content, only a little protein, depending on the catch of the day, fresh or dried fruits and vegetables, depending entirely on what they could scrounge up at the open market, with what little money they made from that catch of the day. Once the church began in Acts 2 the disciples would eat together every day and NO ONE would go hungry: BY CHOICE everything would be shared, all would be "common.” It would indeed blow their minds to see our tables overflowing with unlimited varieties of food, rich food and lots of it, but what would they think about our attitudes, the sounds and scenes in our fellowship halls? Sitting across from you, a first century disciple watches you eat and listens to your conversation and observes your general demeanor. Reverse the situation, with you now in the first century and you're sitting and watching. What would you see? What would you hear? "They took their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart” (Acts 2:46). You would see what looks like poverty to your eyes, but look at their eyes, sparkling with the joy of faith—not one would complain of such simple fare. Listen to the sound of their gladness: Every bite a joy filled, thankful journey deep into the heart of God (1 Tim. 4:3-5)! Have we here today ever heard such a thing?

Eric C. Whelchel




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