This is the second in our mini-series on the key values of Oikos (you can read the first post here). This time, we will take a quick look at our second key value – meals.
It’s a well-known saying that if you take away miracles and meals from the New Testament, there isn’t much left! Jesus and His disciples often shared food together and some of the most popular passages are set in this context.
Jesus showed us how to live as a family on a mission – and eating together was a large part of this example. But why is it so important in an Oikos? Because it gives us the opportunity to have our needs met together and not as individuals. God has designed us to live as community, in the same way that He does (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Put simply, food represents a basic human need and meeting this need together allows us to gather as equals and be edified as community.
In a fast-paced and pressurized culture (as we talked about a couple of weeks ago), this can present challenges. Often amongst leaders, our driven nature will lead us to question the “benefit” or “fruit” of simply gathering to eat together. But again, as we look at the gospels, we see some pivotal discipleship moments taking place over dinner! As both disciples and disciplers we need to replicate this principle.
It’s important to be practical with this and not treat gathering as Oikos in the same way as hosting a dinner party. If this is going to become part of our lifestyle, it needs to be low maintenance and easy to sustain. So, here are a couple of reflections on how to start building this value into your growing Oikos.
Rhythm – the great thing about meals is that we all need them: Eating is already in most people’s daily routine! This is an opportunity to build on something you are already doing rather than create “another appointment” in your diary. For example, perhaps you already have a time in the week where you eat together as a family (Friday night/Sunday lunch?) – where could you start to invite others to join you? Part of the rhythm of our Oikos at 3dm UK is a regular pattern of Sunday lunches throughout the year. This gives us the chance to catch up, play games with the kids and relax together.
Participation – if it’s a family gathering and not a dinner party your are hosting, then it’s important to have everyone involved and helping (that means kids too, where appropriate!). Whether it’s making a dessert, running to the shop to pick something up, making drinks, or washing up afterwards, everyone can do something. Not only is this a blessing to you as a leader, it’s also a blessing to others as they experience being part of the family (and learn the expectations that go alongside the fun). We also need to model to others that you don’t have to be superhuman to have people over for a meal, but rather simply willing to open your home and coordinate people’s efforts. This is what will make meals as an Oikos sustainable and enjoyable, rather than stressful and sporadic!
So have a think,
Are you starting to invite others into your existing rhythm, rather than add in another appointment?
Are you keeping it low maintenance and expecting others to participate?