The farmer-poet Wendell Berry said, “Eating is an agricultural act,” but we can expand that to say, “Eating is a stewardship act.” Every time we sit down to share a meal, we have a chance to re-enter, in some way, the Garden of Eden. Here are five small but significant ways to love God and care for His creation at our tables:
1. Whatever is served, eat it with humility and gratitude.
God served up the whole world to Adam and Eve—“I have given you every plant yielding seed … and every tree” (Gen. 1:29)—but the one food God withheld became the thing they desired most. When we come to dine, we should cheerfully submit our own appetites and preferences to others and cultivate gratitude for whatever we are given.
2. Get your hands in the dirt.
Whether it involves an entire garden or just herbs in a window box, taking part in God’s growing cycle reconnects us to the ultimate source of our food and the giver of all life.
3. Support those who treat creation with respect.
As time and budget permit, purchase food from those who farm or ranch in sustainable ways, lovingly laboring to protect our soil, water, and air.
4. Keep your table open to others.
God made creation hospitable to us, intending for us to share our food and gifts with our neighbors and those in need. Let your table reflect that same open hospitality.
5. “Dress and keep” your table.
Cultivate beauty, just as God asked the first man and woman to do in the garden. More than simply presenting colorful, healthy food, this also means decorating with flowers and grasses from your yard. Throw a bright tablecloth on. Light a candle or two. Take the time to make mealtimes as festive and beautiful as that first garden. Doing so creates a feast that satisfies the eyes, the stomach, and—most importantly—the soul.
Illustration by Ryo Takemasa