More Mouths to Feed
by Luke Welch
We worship God for his glory, and glory means he is ever overflowing with beauty, truth, and goodness. We go to him with praise, because that’s where all the praise worthy stuff is. And when we get there, the glory of God isn’t a mere morsel that we would consume if we tasted it. The glory of God is like the feast of a great chef. If you heard the finest chef was presenting his most triumphant culinary successes to you – you would go. You would go with your fork in hand. Hunger would be a virtue, and wide eyes would be welcome. Wanting what the maker gives would be a praise to the maker.
You have begun going to this chef all the time for his manna, and for his fish, and for his loaves, and for his oil. And over time you have realized that you can take as much food as you can eat, and that at the end of every feast there are twelve baskets of leftovers. Not even a myriad munchers can out consume the service of such a chef. He never runs out, and it is as if at his right hand are delicacies forevermore. As if.
So when you go, you start taking a basket of your own. You decide to eat what you can, and export what you can. You can freely eat, and freely take. No one minds; there is always enough – always more than enough. And wanting what the maker gives is always a praise to the maker.
So when you get home you get out some bread from the basket, and you pour out some oil. And it seems that no matter how many meals you eat, you always have leftovers. LOTS. And no matter how many times you break bread or pour oil, the bread never ceases, and the oil never runs out. And you still have at least a weekly appointment to go to the feast of the chef, all wide eyed and hungry.
But at home it’s just too much bread and wine, too much milk and honey, too much marrow and fatness for you to hold on to, or to eat, or to store. So you have to start getting rid of it. And so many are hungry around you that you can see the apparent and plain path from the chef, through you, to your neighbors. You have decided to start giving away your fancy food. And you won’t mind; there is always enough – always more than enough.
Engaging in the fundamental acts of Christianity involves acts toward God and acts toward men. We worship God with the people of God. And we carry his glory out with us. His beauty, truth and goodness. We took it from God, and we are going to give it to men. We, brothers and sisters, are in the food business. Like food trucks on the corners of a city built on hunger. His word is food. His body is food. His people are food. And if we are going to be filled and overflowing with a perfect product – we are going to need more and more mouths to feed.
Jesus called us restaurants. “Salt and light” are two things any restaurant has. Well, at least any restaurant worth its salt. Light tells you the location of the place. Salt is why you are showing up in the first place. Light lets you see the menu and the feast. Salt makes your mouth water, and drives you to take and eat and chomp and chew. As restaurants go – they have signs: big, lit up affairs that read – GET SALT HERE. Salt, of course, makes everything taste better.
Since you are carrying the food out from a perfect chef, food that will never run out, food that you need to get out and give away – you need a sign, a sign that says that you have the food with unparalleled benefits.
But one of the best benefits of the food of our chef, is that the food of our chef makes us turn into him – to become more and more like him daily. So we begin to act like him, and choose his choices, and do his deeds and even to cook like him. We become fountains of overflowing, choice wine. We become bakeries brimming with bread like no other. We have so much “something” to give away that we need mouths to feed. Always more mouths to feed.
And so it is in the church – that we open the doors wide for more comers welcome. With more hunger, and more wide eyes. And we aren’t afraid of running out and we aren’t afraid of where we will get enough manna for that crowd. We have the source, and he never runs out. But we have so much food we need more eaters.
And so we begin to take in men, and women, and children, and old, and young, and widow, and orphan, and rich, and poor, and family, and single, and well, and sick, and happy, and sad, the wise, the fool, the well organized self righteous looking for grace, and the recently repentant wrecks…also looking for grace. But not to worry – the beauty, truth, and goodness in this house is not from us – but from the source who never faints to put another pot on, and who never tires of whipping up a simple banquet.
And then we all end up cooking for each other – the rich for the poor, the old for the young, and for whomever the Lord allows to be blessed through us. And the cuisine we serve also serves to make us all more like the chef. And we poor, we fools, we many – all of us like being together at the table – all of us. Together.
Widows are no longer widows. Families are no longer made of 5 or 6 but of 40 or 100. We retain the responsibilities we have as men for strength or as women for wisdom, as youths for strength or as elders for wisdom. We retain our singleness for undividedness, or our family-ness for building the kingdom exponentially. But at the Lord’s table, and before his food we are all equals, we are all individuals united as members in one body. You don’t need a husband or a father to get to the table – if you have Jesus then Jesus serves the meal straight to you. But we never eat alone – we always eat together. The gifts of God for the people of God. And we together can all freely take, and freely eat. No one minds; there is always enough – always more than enough. And wanting what the maker gives is always a praise to the maker. And it will fill us, and it will change us, and the leftover will go home with us in our hearts, and we will set up signs to ask our neighbors to be our guests in the kindom – to take this same Jesus on their lips.
And so it is that the church is never afraid of more eaters.
And some of us, many of us, but not all, are also called to the special task of building houses, planting gardens, taking wives and getting sons and daughters. Now, in fact, every single and widow and widower in the church can multiply the kingdom through their overflow of glory into the world. But this strange task does still remain for the people who are able to marry and to have children. It is not a bad work. It is, in fact, quite central to the call on the whole church – to be fruitful and to multiply. This is prerequisite to filling the land, to subduing and to ruling.
So as we eat as individuals together with the body of that great chef, the Lord Jesus, and as those of us individuals that also make up families are made more like Jesus, and like his Father, and like the Holy Spirit, then our families too are made more like the Trinity. The Trinity is not a person. The Trinity is a family, and one expanding ever outward in the church – the bride brought into the house by covenant. And as the church has never ending grace, delicacies at the right hand of the father – so also does the family. We are not afraid of running out, or running short. We are filled with a kind of goodness, truth, and beauty that needs to be passed along.
If we are to build houses and plant gardens, then we are also to pray for the places that we live, and when we do, God will bless those places, starting with us. He will ask us to fill that land and to fill it with overflowing beauty, truth, and goodness with his own chef’s signature attached. And there’s just so much of it that if we are to have it, then we are to overflow with it. It will need a sign that says “Get your salt, right here!” One of those kinds of big, lit up signs is that our families are transformed into looking more like the Trinity.
The Trinity has seen fit to let its family bust at the seams of the world. And since the family of the Trinity, the church, is food for the world – then the world needs to loosen its belt. Because there is endless goodness from a God who is not afraid of more mouths to feed.
So in short – families who are taught by feasting on the Lord’s food with our ever growing churches, churches who are not afraid of the young, the disabled, the fool, or the sinner… as we are taught by the fact that every meal leaves baskets and baskets behind… then we learn that Trinitarian families are families who, when feasting with the Lord their chef, are wishing, just wishing for more mouths to feed. That is, generally speaking, we wish for more children. So as families fed by the Trinity, we learn to loosen our belts. And we aren’t afraid of running out and we aren’t afraid of where we will get enough manna for that crowd. We have the source, and he never runs out. But we have so much food we need more eaters.
Luke Welch has a master’s degree from Covenant Seminary and preaches regularly in a conservative Anglican church in Maryland. He blogs about Bible structure at SUBTEXT. Luke and his wife have five children.