I have been challenged lately to compromise. It is not a compromise that requires any immediate action; the proverbial fork in the road will not come for some time, maybe even months. But the seeds of compromise have been sown, alongside the seeds of conviction, and whatever seeds are watered and tended, will be the harvest that I reap. Choose this day whom you will serve, says the Lord. (Joshua 24:15) The compromise is so attractive, so beguiling, so convenient, it is hard to see the lie. And I am tempted. There are actually two stories here, two whispered invitations to compromise, not surprisingly in the areas of food and faith.
The other day when I had the fourth workshop in the Faith & Food series, I walked out the door with such a sense from God that I was walking boldly into my destiny and that I had the opportunity to seize the moment that God had placed before me. And guess what? There were only two people who came out that night and they were the guest speakers for the December and February workshops! But it didn’t matter to me whether there were two or two thousand people there that night because so strongly had God spoken into my spirit. Because we know, God does not always speak in the wind, God does not always speak in the earthquake or the fire, He speaks in a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:11,12) And I am so glad that God speaks in a gentle whisper because there are so many voices calling out, loud and bright, full of false promise and success, but if I want to hear Jesus, I have to move aside, to a quiet place, and listen for His voice. And when the madness of all the other choices and voices have battered my soul, I am so glad that His voice is gentle.
There I am, my two guest speakers and I, huddled around my PowerPoint, with the message that I feel God is birthing in my heart about food and how we eat. To be honest, the message is not convenient. It requires significant change and sacrifice, a repentance of sort because it is a turning away from a comfortable, familiar, easy way of eating. From the time of the first workshop when God began revealing to me the connection between food and faith – how we nurture our bodies and how we nurture our spirits – I have discovered so many parallels. As I write this paragraph two familiar exhortations about faith spring to mind and they fit so beautifully with food.
“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried” because “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”1
I suggest it could also read:
“A whole-foods, plant-based diet has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried because difficult is the way which leads to a whole-foods, plant-based diet, and there are few who find it.”
When the opportunity comes to speak about nutrition but the invitation comes with the caveat that “this crowd just wouldn’t be open to a whole-foods, plant based diet, so could you perhaps alter it”, what do I say. The Gospel is inconvenient, should we water it down? Oh wait, I think we already have. Now let me be clear, I am not trying to place food on the same level of importance as the Gospel. Food and nutrition can become a path to self-righteous idolatry and God will not tolerate my stomach being placed before the Lordship of Jesus Christ. But our food needs a radical overhaul if it is going to impact us in any meaningful way and to pretend otherwise would be a disservice to the One who created the stomach for food. (1 Corinthians 6:13) The question then becomes, whom do I wish to serve with this message. If God is birthing it in me, then He is responsible for it and if I compromise what He has given me, the one talent I have will be taken away and given to another. (Matthew 25:14-30) So I will let God build it, lest I build in vain. (Psalm 127:1) The result, is up to Him.
1. Gilbert K. Chesterton & Matthew 7:14