My friend Bob (who has worked in foreign missions for almost 30 years) sent me this video from The Perennial Plate, a blog dedicated to sustainable eating. If you can get through this without your mouth watering you have more fortitude than I do.
Of all the people in it, I think I’d like to be the one bringing those little glasses of tea out to the vendors in the open air market. Did you see how happy he made them!
The Power of Appetite
Our desire for food is powerful, so powerful that using food and taste and appetite as a metaphor seems to be as old as eating itself. The Bible uses it often, as when describing these aspects of our lives:
- Kisses sweeter than wine
- Death’s unending appetite
- Satan is a lion, hungry and prowling for those he can devour
- The Lord’s goodness satisfies our taste buds
I’m sure you can come up with more, but there is one bit of food imagery above all others that comes to my mind after watching that video.
“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. … I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together.” (John 4:34-36.)
Jesus was talking about people. Not just any people either but Samaritans, a nation of people that Jesus’ Jewish friends would rather ignore. But to Jesus these people were ready for a harvest of salvation, just as a crop is ready for a bountiful harvest at the end of a fruitful season. He said the season was going to be very fruitful, and he was right.
The one Samaritan he originally spoke to told her friends, and she had the honor of reaping a harvest among her people
Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers.
They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42.)
I can only wonder at the satisfaction that woman experienced after she got a taste of Jesus, and of what it was like to bring in the harvest he had prepared.
Hunger of a Different Kind
So it turns out that video of makes me hungry in more ways than one. The food looks delicious, of course, and what can I say … I’m a sucker for flat bread. But when you see the faces of those people in the video do you see people that God loves, a harvest ripe for salvation?
Because that’s another type of hunger altogether, a hunger for God’s kingdom to be filled with the people he loves. As my friend Bob put it in the email bringing me the link to that video, “Pictures like these always prompt me to smile and pray. Would you take a few minutes to pray for the people of Turkey as you watch?” Bob’s field work with Frontiers was in a different part of the world but his heart for people transcends borders, and he knows a harvest when he sees one.
So as he requested, I’m praying even as I write this.