Dear friend Margaret Feinberg pries open our mouths and slides in a spoonful of pure delight in how we understand the Bible. Taste and see!
How to Have Your Deepest Cravings Satisfied by God
By Margaret Feinberg
When we gather to eat, I believe God wants to feed more than our appetites, he wants to feed our souls. And so often, it's around the table that God meets our deepest hungers - to know and be known, to accept and be accepted, to understand and be understood.
In Psalm 34, one of the great songwriters invites us to, "Taste and see that the Lord is good."
I decided to take to this invitation literally.
And embarked on a wild adventure to descend more than 400 feet into a salt mine, fish on the sea of Galilee, and pluck figs from a premier fruit farmer. I traveled to Yale University to bake matza from scratch with an expert on ancient grains, brought in an olive harvest in Croatia, and graduated with a certificate in "Steakology 101" from a Texas butcher.
Each adventure brought Scripture to life - like the time I trekked into a salt mine outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, and learned about what Jesus meant when he called us the salt of the earth.
I'm not sure what I expected when we began descending into the mouth of the cave, but what I saw was beyond my wildest imagination. The walls of the salt mine weren't stark white like what I shake onto my French fries. Instead, gleaming back were hues of magenta, streaks of brown, glistens of peach. My salt expert friend explained to me that the salt is colored by the naturally occurring minerals in the water and soil around it. White table salt goes through further processing to remove the trace minerals and colors.
So when Jesus talks about "the salt of the earth," he's not speaking to pure sodium chloride. He's speaking to each of us about the natural, unique way we were brought up and created, all our trace minerals included - our strengths, weaknesses, personalities, quirks, and all of the talents and gifts that God has given us. So when we go out as salt of the earth, we are to walk in fullness of that.
With each visit, the Bible came alive like a pop-up book and changed the way I read the Bible and gather around the table forever. I found myself asking again and again, "How have I grown up in the church and listened to so many sermons and no one has told me these things?"
Why am I so passionate about this?
Because deep down inside I believe that Scripture is meant to be more than read - it's meant to be experienced. God designed us for a high definition relationship with him. Not one that's just black and white or stale or flat. But one that's full of life and joy and sensory experiences. That's why we are invited to "taste and see" God's goodness.
That's more than mental assertion or trying harder. That's learning to savor and open our eyes to all the ways that God is at work around us.
You may be surprised to discover this, but when I started out on this journey, I had zero contacts in the food field. Yep! That's right. Maybe you know a dozen salt miners, but I knew none. So I started with a simple prayer, "God, please bring the people into my life who I'm supposed to meet and spend time with."
Then I began asking everyone I knew ... Do you know a salt miner? Do you know an olive grower?
Most people said, "Um, no."
But every so often I'd find someone who knew someone and I'd follow the rabbit trail walking in trust, walking in faith, that God would provide what I did not have.
And he did!
I don't know what God calls you to - but I know he can do abundantly more than you ask or expect - including transform the way you view his Word, his love for you (quirks included), and fellowship around the table forever.
Margaret Feinberg is a popular speaker, writer, and host of the The Joycast podcast. Her latest book and Bible study is Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers and Fresh Food Makers. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @mafeinberg.