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October 04, 2007



My first reaction is to say "yeah but" and mumble something about people needing to eat out because of their life situation, like we were a year ago, husband in school and me working 10 hours a day. If we ate at all, it was usually out (although we're more diner and/or Panera type people). BUT over the past year I've been learning HOW to slow things down, destress, etc. Actually making menu plans, shopping twice a month, etc. and eating out is a treat again, not a way of life. So just to say I think there's always something behind what we do, whatever it is. So for me, that's what i have to focus on, why I'm doing what I'm doing. Good food for thought here (as always and excuse the bad pun!)


I've been thinking about this, as my favorite eating time of the year has arrived. Fall=Food in my mind.

The restaurant thing nags at me, too, because portions are always too large, which encourages overeating. And the cost--either you go fast food (which is getting more expensive) or you plop down around $10/person if you get the least expensive item on the menu, plus a drink and tip. At home I can easily feed all four of us for that amount. Except for special events, it simply seems wasteful...

But I also hate to think that we must turn into food prudes and scoff at the amazing variety God placed on the earth.

You might enjoy this post by my bro-in-law that ponders Feasts & Fasting: http://janotec.typepad.com/terrace/2007/10/on-feasting-and.html


I have a strange view of eating out. A few years ago, I started eating out alone sometimes. I'd take a book to read, my journal, and have a yummy all about me meal. Then I discoverd to my amazement it wasn't all about me at all - God had other plans.

I began building relationships with the servers. I mean they sat in my booth and shared their life stories. I in turn promised to pray for them an in fact often bowed my head when they left the booth. When I looked up I'd see them watching me sometimes with tears running down their faces. They knew almost nothing about me except I read Max Lucado books and some Christian novels.

One day I felt a strong urge to go to Applesbees on a Monday instead of Friday - yep - I had a schedule. So, I argued a little with God and then I went.

A waitress sat down and asked, "Is God just angry judge waiting to zap us for our every sin?"

"God is just and He is love," was my response.

She then told me about one of the other gals who wanted to die (literally had it planned) because she couldn't get pregnant. None of them knew I was infertile. She asked if I'd talk to her. I said sure.

My dad had given me the newest Max book...and I hadn't even opened it. (Title:He Chose the Nails) When the younger woman sat down all I saw in her eyes was despair. I never asked her what she thought God was punishing her for. I told her about my childless journey and how I knew God loved her...and I gave her my brand new hard cover from my daddy book!

She begged me to come in again on Friday. I took that to mean she meant to live that long and so I promised.

I was moved to bring more Max books. I bought 5 or 6 new ones...and took them.

She and three other waitresses were waiting for me. The cook now had the other Max book and they were wanting more. I handed them my bag.

Since then 3 of them have come to Christ as far as I know.

It's happened in other restaurants too.

They get a book now and then...a prayer...and a person who loves them so much it in me. I eat a normal meal...I leave a normal tip. I know some of their secrets and struggles. Men sit with me too.

Through me indulging in eating out...Jesus does a work.

Jon used to be bugged - a lot of our income was suddenly going to restaurants. Family and friends thought I was lazy and yes...a glutton. (I ate salads for crying out loud!) i tried to explain these folks were so dear to me and actually become a sort of ministry for me. I got laughed at.

Finally I invited Jon to join me. The staff still came to sit with me...and in front of him continued to share.

No one laughs anymore. Jon has told them about my restaurant friends. Some have been with me for lunch and the same thing has happened. Other friends are picking up on this and building relationships as well.

Okay...sometimes I order a burger and onion rings. And sometimes no one sits down. There are still hugs to give and prayers to be said. And hard cover books to be left on tables with a post-it note that says something personal on it. I've been told the books are so easy to accept - easier than a tract and a cheap tip. They know I mean it - that I leave the books in love. I've even left a Lisa Samson novel or two with a note that I thought they might find this book an interesting read.

Very few commment other than a thanks for the book. I have been told there are books in several break rooms worn out from being read over and over by several of them.

For me, eating out is a blast when I can build a relationship. Somehow the food just tastes better!


Joy's story is awesome!
You know my husband figured up the ammount we spend monthly on eating out. I will not even tell you. It is horrifying! It is defintely sin. It may not be gluttony, but it is poor stewardship at the least.
I think it is a very difficult subject. If I eat a chip when I am full, is that gluttony?
And the fasting...Beth Moore said that she told a friend that she felt guilty for having never done a forty day fast. Her friend said, "I haven't known anyone who has done the forty day fast where it has not become a source of pride." And I can so see that being true for me. Of course there may be people who have done it and no one knows because that HAVE stayed humble. So we each have to figure these things out for ourselves, I think. But it is very difficult.


Thanks for that story, Joy. My friends, when they have to stop for fast food always go to what they call, "The Grumpy Arbys" because the people there are always short with them and miserable. They just try to be a ray of light. I think this is great. And it's a far cry from what I was talking about, that is, eating out many times a week.

Kay, you're right. It's probably not technically gluttony to spend all that money on food. It is poor stewardship. You're exactly right on that. My weakness when it comes to this stuff is Coke. I'll bet I stop at the gas station 3 - 4 times a week and buy a Coke.


I think it's a great point about denial becoming a source of pride. How easy it would be to fall into a trap of puffing ourselves up because we aren't gluttonous. I think everything has to be in moderation. Even Jesus feasted and defended it against the Pharisees. But he also denied himself.

The trouble is, I don't know what constitutes balance in my life.


I still eat out many times a week - probably 4 or 5. When I try to cut back, my wait staff worry about me...and have even considered calling to make sure I'm okay. Jon had to stop in a couple of places when I was in the hospital for 2 weeks to explain why I wasn't in.

It is extravagant I guess. And I'm more than a little bit overweight - please tell me it's not the salads!!! I rarely clean my plate.

Could it be this boils down to motive? I have friends I love dearly who will say that eating out is something they deserve...or even part of their "place" because of their husband's position. Huh? I'm married to an insurance agent and status is so not part of our lives. For me, I go to certain places on certain days to connect with certain people.

Today it's the Applebees crowd at the Mall. Helen will be greeting me and lead me immediately to a small booth. She'll look at whatever book I'm reading, jot down the title and author. (I'ts Justice in the Burbs - this is one she will love!!!! In fact I have an extra copy - that will most likely get left on the table today) One of the wait staff will bring me my favorites and we'll visit about their children or their sexual struggles - there is a young man who is gay who sometimes shares his story with me. I get to share Jesus with him.

It's a really hard balance isn't it - to be pure in all areas of our lives?


New angle to this discussion...one of my waitresses told me without her job her family would be homeless...and with the financial crunch many are feeling she's feeling it too in her tips. Restaurants are hiring fewer people and tip amounts are lower. So this single mom worries...and is glad to see me for more than one reason...she told me my tip would by her little ones milk and bread. It also preserves her dignity. She works and supports her family even if barely. I know the restaurnat makes most of the $ I leave there...but this beautiful young woman gets a little and sometimes a little is so much better than none. No...a little is always better than none.


That is true, Joy. And I assume you're doing this without going into credit card debt. But how many Americans eat out too much and are up to their ears in debt? And how many kids are eating fast food and substandard foods filled with corn syrup because they eat out too much. I understand you have a ministry this way, and I think it's great, but as a matter of course, for most people who eat out a lot, I wonder if what you're saying even applies. I'm glad to hear how well this has gone for you so far!


It probably doesn't apply Lisa...you're right. However, I've been told I'm a lazy glutton for eating out so often...also a bad steward of God's money and I've also been told food and eating out in general is an idol in my life. The folks saying these things may mean well ... but dog gone it the judgement and condemnation hurt. They don't know what motivates my heart.

Thanks for letting me share my heart here...it's an interesting discussion - one I will leave alone now since I've really been a glutton about the space I'm taking up here on your blog!!

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