Monday, May 18, 2009

I Was An Hungered

Everyone who comes in my door gets offered food. That's just the way I roll. I make bread, soup, curry, and everything else that strikes my fancy. I have a principled objection to frozen pizza and Top Ramen, entirely apart from finding them unflavorful and unsatisfying. I believe that good food remembers where it came from; that is, that the food that is best for you will be recognizable when it is served, not processed beyond recognition. The vast majority of my budget is spent at the grocery store, often on fruits and vegetables and spices and other such things "to please the eye and to gladden the heart" (Doctrine & Covenants 59:18).

It's no fun cooking for just one person, so I make a lot of food. I get it from my Grandma. She fed everyone who walked in her door. We always felt comfortable rummaging through the fridge when we went to her house, knowing there would be some leftovers, and that nothing was off-limits. Even when her ten children grew up and moved away from home, Grandma never quite learned how to cook meals for just two people. She loved to make lots of food for her large family whenever we got together.

So there's something about food that says "hospitality" to me. I'm not the best entertainer or joke-teller, and I can't do any parlor tricks for my guests, but food--food I can do pretty well. Today I'd like to talk about the role of food in the gospel.

When the Savior finished His Olivet discourse on the destruction of Jerusalem and the signs of His second coming, He followed up His doomsday prophecies with instructions on how to prepare for His return. To illustrate the principles He taught, He gave three parables--the parables of the ten virgins, the talents, and the sheep and the goats (see Matt. 25). He then taught them of the eschatological consequences of their mortal actions:

"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink...Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?...And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:34-40).

In listing charitable acts expected of true Christians, Christ explicitly lists feeding the hungry. And when we feed hungry people, the Lord makes it clear that that act has the same eternal reward as feeding the Savior Himself. Your guest therefore represents Christ to you, and in feeding Him you nourish the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

I remember one occasion last year when a roommate and I were making food for an acquaintance and his wife, who were coming to dinner that evening. A mutual friend wandered in and, observing the preparations for dinner already well underway, the rolls rising in the corner while the soup simmered on the stove, one of us setting the table while the other made the salad dressing, she remarked, "Wow! This is fancy! Who are you having over for dinner? The President?"

I quoted to her the Savior's words in the book of Matthew, and then asked simply, "If Jesus were coming to dinner, what would you feed Him?" She laughed.

It was an honor to eat with our friends that night, as we came to understand Paul's admonition: "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2). They were angels indeed, and they blessed our home with their presence.

I guess my point is this: I like feeding people. (And I'll feed you, if you're hungry!) It's one of the ways I show love. And I've come to realize that when I see my guests as representatives of the Savior, I am less inclined to judge them and more inclined to learn from them. After all, if Christ came to dinner I would ask Him to teach me--and everyone I meet has something to teach me, if I am humble enough to learn from even "the least of these my brethren."


  1. This was a really great and thoughtful post! I often make fast and easy food for my kids, especially if daddy's not going to be home for dinner, but you have really made me see how I ought to put more effort into nourishing them, rather than just filling their tummies with "kid noodles".

    Also, I do love to have people over for dinner (not in a cannibal way). This post makes me want to see visitors as people I should be learning from - people are so interesting and unique with insights I would never even thought of.

    SO! Thanks for this post, very well done. Wanna come over for dinner?

  2. I certainly enjoy your posts. Thanks for being you. Miss ya.

  3. Oooh! I found you! Because, I totally have a girl crush on you. Can we be friends? I promise I am not totally creepy in real life. Just a little creepy.

  4. Amy,
    So first let me explain who I am. My name is Drake, and I'm Lew Allsop's son--I believe you know him from work. Anyway, I'm starting a blog, and I was hunting for ideas, and my dad said he enjoyed reading your blog, so I gave it a look see. I like it! I especially love this post--I find I'm exactly the same way. My favorite thing is to make up dinner or a batch of cookies and invite whoever's walking by my apartment to come in and join me. Thanks for your insights!

  5. Hi Drake!
    Good to hear from you. Anyone related to Lew is a friend of mine. Good luck on your blog!

  6. Brandy-
    Thanks. Next time I'm in Idaho, maybe I will.
    I miss you too, dear woman.
    Yes, let's be friends.