Friday, January 22, 2010

Lessons learned from the sports world - The Dining Room

Food is an easier topic to talk about and the Dining room is infinitely more popular and way more fun than the Classroom or Gym. Of course a lot does depend on who is cooking and what it is they are cooking. If your school meals were anything like mine then that is a much different thought than if I mentioned 'Longhorn Steakhouse' or your mom's Christmas dinner.
Thoughts of Fillet Mignon can make you hungry while thinking about fish head soup somehow brings on another reaction.

For the athlete who every day pushes their body to the limit in the gym, on the training field, and on the playing field the dining room is a very important place. In order for the athlete's muscles to develop in such a way that they become increasingly stronger and better at the skills and in order for them to have the level of energy and stamina they need to compete at maximum capacity and endurance they need to feed their body the right food. Through years of study in nutrition we have come to understand which foods will provide the needed fuel to do just that.
I am not a nutritionist but take it from me high level athletes are not eating Double Cheeseburgers and drinking coke every day or before they go out to compete.
They have strict diets made up of the best of foods.
Two things are for sure in all of this - an athlete needs to eat and their effectiveness will be impacted by what they eat.

As we run this race that God has set out before us we will need nourishment to keep us going and our endurance and effectiveness will be directly linked to the type of nourishment we take in. Our nourishment comes directly from our Father who holds no good thing back. He has prepared a feast for us.

Psalm 36
They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.

Feasting happens in the intimacy of the presence of God. When we draw aside and pull up to this table which has been spread with richest of food.

Psalm 63 My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;

As we spend time in the presence of God we are strengthened in our innermost being. We are refreshed and made ready to keep running. Everything we need to keep us going is found in His presence. No matter how weak or exhausted we may be we can be renewed at this table.

Isa 55 v 1-2
Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.

The picture that comes to me is one of this huge feast spread out on a massive table. All the wonderful foods that we enjoy displayed with creativity and care - but that is not all that is available - there is much more waiting in the store houses ready to replenish what the table when we eat what is there. Our Father is waiting to dine with us.

My issue is that so often I am looking for the drive through window in the banquet hall. A quick order placed on my way to some other activity - the good food remains untouched and I eat fast food. Inevitably my endurance and energy is affected.
Other times I feel I walk into the banquet hall and instead of sitting in His presence and feasting I spend my time spewing forth my requests and my thoughts instead of being quiet, listening, soaking in the renewing and refreshing power found in His presence at His table. Like the kid who does not know when to be quiet around the dinner table and no one else can speak. Or, the annoying great Aunt with the raspy monotone voice who incessantly insists on sharing all her health problems with those around the table.
I know God is gracious.
I know that even the drive through reflects a tendency towards dependency.
I know that he has given us freedom to make our requests known to Him - even like a persistent widow.
But just as an athelete can from time to time splurge on a Big Mac or a coke the reality is that on a regular and consistent basis he needs to eat good good. So it is with us - on a regular and consistent basis we should be feasting on the richest, the best of food to nourish our souls. That is, spending extended time in the presence of God, feasting on His word, listening to His voice as He speaks across the table to us, unhurried.

Let us all be reminded of the Dining Room....the Banquet Hall of God. Spread with the richest of food for our enjoyment and sustenance. God's intent is for us to come in and dine, unhurried, without distraction. Let's make sure we accept His repeat invitation on a regular and consistent basis. Then we will be able to run this race set out before us with perseverance and endurance because we have eaten that which sustains us to do so.

1 comment:

  1. Good word Andrew! :-) Like when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray in Mat 6:9-13, Jesus told them to pray: "Give us today our daily bread" (NIV). Give us TODAY our DAILY bread. It's like you said, eating needs to be in our schedule, and not just eating, but eating the right food. Thanks for being an awesome leader!