Have You Eaten Yet Today?
I have a longtime friend who has worked in Asia for decades. Earlier this year he shared something interesting about the Christian house church movement in China.
That historic spiritual awakening has its roots in the Shantung (Province) Revival birthed amid American and British missionary activities more than eighty years ago. That vibrant network has grown to more than 100 million believers. And is still growing.
“In the morning when these Chinese Christians first meet, they do not say, ‘Good morning. How are you?’ Instead, they ask, ‘Have you eaten yet today?”
This is a double question. First, they are asking if you have spent time with the Lord before beginning your day? If you have, they want a report on what happened during your devotional time.
What did you ‘see’ in God’s written Word?
What did you ‘hear’ in prayer when the Holy Spirit spoke to you?
How did you ‘connect’ with the living Jesus when you worshiped?
Second, they want to know if you have eaten breakfast. In Christophobic societies, marginalized believers sometimes lack the basics of life. So when food is scarce, the greeter makes every effort to feed that person.
This fresh way of beginning the day sounded attractive to me. So I talked with a few friends and several of us decided to try this morning greeting—a Breakfast Club of sorts.
I am encouraged by the results.
I start every day more focused on refreshing my relationship with God—letting Him speak to me through His written Word—getting tuned in to the soft voice of His Holy Spirit–before the noise of the day envelopes me.
When my morning schedule precludes this, I make every effort to spend this essential time with God in the evening before I go to bed.
I try to let the Holy Spirit set the agenda.
Sometimes I focus on a book of the Bible or I search the Word to discover God’s heart on a particular question or issue. Sometimes I read Christian history. Sometimes I’m impressed to spend time in intimate worship. Sometimes I’m called to prayer. Sometimes I pray in the Spirit to sensitize my spirit to His Spirit.
After eleven months, I am enjoying a more consistent devotional life and my relationship with Jesus is clarifying and deepening.
One ongoing prompting for me has been to meditate seriously on John 15 within the context of chapters 13-17. Relationship with God is described in a few paragraphs. To Jesus and John, this foundational, dynamic relationship IS the normal Christian life. Meditating on John 15 has deepened and clarified my relationship with Jesus this year.
But there is a second layer of benefit: the interaction I am having with others ‘doing the breakfast thing.’
I am amazed at my friends’ fresh insights into what God is saying to them through the Scriptures. I am encouraged that a personal word spoken by the Spirit during prayer to any one of us often applies to others as well.
I am also encouraged when more than one of us independently ‘hears’ the same specific word from God. The credibility of the word is strengthened as is our confidence that we are able to hear God’s whispers.
We share what God is ‘speaking to us’. We share prayer requests and their outcomes. We raise questions for discussion. We are openly confessional about our journey toward a more authentic faith.
A couple of friends share almost daily. Some share once or twice a week. Others less often. I have no expectation about frequency. Everyone is free to share as they wish.
Did I mention that my breakfast club is spread over several States and extends even into Africa? By necessity we share by text, email and telephone. I find distance does not dampen the common task of spiritual formation.
It occurs to me that you might like to start your own BREAKFAST CLUB. The process is simple. Tell a few friends, co-workers and family members the story of the Chinese Christians’ morning greeting.
Perhaps some of them will want to network their daily devotions with yours.
There are no participation requirements. No legalities to satisfy. No organization to staff, serve, or fund. The Breakfast Club is an informal sharing of life as we each share in the life of God.
Our common desire is that–as a result of our shared pilgrimages–Christ will be formed in each of us sooner and more completely.
If you initiate a BREAKFAST CLUB you may want to journal what you share with others and what others share with you. You won’t remember many of the wonderful things God will download to you unless you archive them.
And do be sensitive to the practical needs of those you ‘breakfast’ with. If they have a need you can appropriately meet, then do feed them that ‘other breakfast’ as well. – James 2:14-17
Just remember to ask each morning, “Have you eaten yet today?”
PS: We’d love to hear what happens in your Breakfast Club. Just drop Doug an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your own JESUS SIGHTINGS.