Funny story. I wanted an example of a food’s source. It occurred to me that my breakfast this morning, a package of Belvita biscuits, could be just the thing. Where did these originate? When I Googled the question, it gave an unequivocal (and incorrect) answer: Indonesia. It turns out that my Belvitas, at least according to the box, were made in Mexico.
For many foodies, “locally sourced,” is one of the principle commandments. At the very least, they would admonish us to know where our food comes from. As for me, Indonesia seemed like a plausible, and rather disturbingly distant, answer a few minutes ago.
Yesterday I took up the question of what Jesus would eat: WWJE? As promised, I would like to spend a bit of time mulling over some principles that I find useful in answering that question. I won’t hold these up as absolute doctrinal positions but rather as my best wisdom on the matter of what goes in my mouth.
Does the source, the origin, of your food matter? Clearly it matters in the area of taste and availability. Broccoli grown in our garden will most likely taste better than broccoli shipped in from California (which supplies 90% of the U.S. crop). On the other hand, we’ll struggle to grow that vegetable in the coldest and the hottest months of the year, meaning the availability is limited.
That’s all great for a food enthusiast, but does God really care about whether your vegetables are locally sourced? I’m not convinced that this is high on God’s list, but I could probably be persuaded otherwise.
When I talk about the source of our food, I think the more important thing is the ultimate source of it. God gives food to the birds, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6. He used birds to give food (from Him) to Elijah. He fed Israel miraculously for 40 years on manna.
He gives food to every creature.Psalm 136:25
His faithful love endures forever.
The source of our food is not Hy-Vee or Whole Foods, not Indonesia, Mexico, or the garden a few steps from where I am sitting. My food’s source is God. It is a gift from Him.
If I give a gift to someone–and if it is truly a no-strings-attached kind of gift–then I will hope they will use that gift wisely but I won’t in any way force the issue. For example, about a year back, I gave my old car to my son. Will he treat that vehicle differently than he would one that he’d purchased? I’d like to think that he would remain grateful and responsible with it. Should he drive 30,000 miles without changing the oil, I would be disappointed, but it is his car.
I believe, when considering WWJE?, that it is more important that I remember that my food came as a gift from God than that I obsess over how many truck miles my beef or tomatoes endured before landing in my kitchen.
When we remember that each bite that goes into our mouth and sustains us is a manifestation of the grace of God, then we’re more likely to make Christ-pleasing decisions, which might include buying more locally sourced fare. But maybe not.