The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! It was 1968. I was now an adult at the ripe old age of 18. I had some money in my pocket. And if I wanted to eat out I could and could eat at any restaurant I preferred. So when I saw the sign, I knew that that was what I was eating: McDonald’s NEW Big Mac. You know the one–two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun. 🙂 Yes, I memorized the jingle.
With that one decision, McDonald’s became my default restaurant setting and has stayed with me since. During my tour in the Army, because funds and freedom were somewhat limited, I would take the bus to the nearest McDonald’s and order the same meal, always. The order would include 2 fish, 2 fries and 2 milk for 2 dollars. (Now the time line makes a little more sense as you look at the cost of what now is TWO MEALS and twelve bucks more).
Through the years, though some other choices have been sprinkled in, (Culvers or Arbys will do but…) the fish sandwich and especially the Big Mac have been staples for me. In those early years, I didn’t calorie count, think about carbs, factor in protein or even think about what bread does to your diet, I just ordered and ate. Simple…satisfying…standard operating procedure. But lately, since what goes into my belly is beginning to stick around and show up under my belt, I have begun to ask myself ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘what’ am I eating. This is new territory for me. But, it is an area that must be explored and brought under the Spirit’s control: the self-controlled part of the Spirit’s gifts (Galatians 5:22-23).
So ‘why’ do I eat? Sometimes I eat because it’s a habit. When the clock chimes 7 or noon or 6, I’m supposed to be putting food in my mouth aren’t I? And what about 10am and 2pm snacks at break time? Then there’s the 9pm bowl of cereal. And I don’t want to get tired while driving so I munch. Then there’s those pesky ‘munchy’ times when I just want something to eat. That pretty much packs out the day and packs in the food. Should I really be eating by habit? Am I living to eat or eating to live? Now, there’s a good question.
So what about ‘what’ I eat? Surely, I have freedom of choice here don’t I? Everyone loves the three fruits: dark chocolate, white chocolate and milk chocolate. It really doesn’t matter if they are served on candy bars, peanuts or peanut butter. They are good. And it’s okay to eat them–even healthy to eat them, some doctors encourage. After all, God made chocolate didn’t He?
So, ‘where’ do I eat? That’s easy: any place there’s food. As my taste buds reproduce and contain a wider variety of tolerances to spices and flavors, a whole new world has opened up, presenting me with a full array of new restaurant possibilities. Now I can just about go anywhere and ‘forage’. But should I?
This leads me back to my first question: ‘why’, ‘what’ and ‘where’ should I eat? Well, if I look to God’s Word for insight, these two messages offer counsel. First, ‘whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God’ (I Corinthians 10:31). Second, ‘And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him’ (Colossians 3:17).
There’s my answer. The next time I reach for that candy bar, diet soda, donut or swing in for my favorite sandwich and fries, I’ll just ask myself honestly, if this is being done in order to give God my ‘THANKFUL HONOR’.