As a kid, growing up Catholic, I don’t remember ever “saying grace” before a meal. My dad worked in retail and most of the time he was rarely home for dinner. So, it was me and mom and we ate sitting in front of the TV. (Do you remember TV Dinners?) We never got into the habit of thanking God for providing the meal. On occasion when we went to someone else’s house for dinner — especially Thanksgiving — that’s when the host or hostess would pause to say grace.
As a single adult living in Miami, my church used to hold a community Thanksgiving dinner. It was always hosted by someone with a large enough house to hold around 30 people. Someone made the turkey and we all brought a dish to share. Yes, it was a potluck Thanksgiving and it was fun. That’s really when I first started occasionally saying grace before a meal. But, it was only with a group — at a potluck. By myself, I never did.
It’s taken many decades of struggles for me to realize that EVERYTHING I have — food included — it’s because God allowed me to have it. He gave me the skill, knowledge, and experience to earn a living and buy the food. Even when money’s tight, I am able to go to a food pantry to get food. He always provides. Now, I thank Him before every meal. Not always before the first bite, but I do thank Him.
Role Models Saying Grace in the New Testament
Of course, we have examples of people giving thanks for food in scripture. Here are a few New Testament passages. The first ones are from Jesus Himself…
5 When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” 6 He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
7 Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”
8 Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9 “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”
10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). 11 Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
12 When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13 So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.John 6:5-13 NLT
A Few Points to Ponder…
- The disciples doubted
- A boy sacrificed his lunch
- Jesus gave thanks
- 5000+ people ate
- There were leftovers! Lots of leftovers!
The Last Supper
26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.Matthew 26:26-28 NIV
Paul told us…
Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.Romans 14:6 NLT
Even when Paul was on the ship in the storm (the 15th day), he encouraged the people on board to eat and he didn’t forget to give thanks….
33 Just as day was dawning, Paul urged everyone to eat. “You have been so worried that you haven’t touched food for two weeks,” he said. 34 “Please eat something now for your own good. For not a hair of your heads will perish.” 35 Then he took some bread, gave thanks to God before them all, and broke off a piece and ate it. 36 Then everyone was encouraged and began to eat— 37 all 276 of us who were on board.Acts 27:33-37 NLT
Now, What About Thanking God for His Gift of Grace?
Grace is one of those words that gets tossed around a lot and it’s collected many meanings. However, the most important and significant one is God’s Gift of Grace. It’s a gift that we can’t work for. Certainly, it’s not a gift we sinners deserve, either!
Here’s a wonderful prayer to thank God for His gift of Saving Grace that I found in a study plan in the free YouVersion Bible App. I tell you — that app is a treasure trove! I thank God for it and the organization behind it.
Pray with me, please…
Lord, today I want to thank You for Your grace. Grace is simply getting something good I do not deserve. So many times I take Your grace for granted, please forgive me. Open my eyes to see Your grace more clearly in my life. Lord, I ask that You take the blinders off of my spiritual eyes so that I can see all of the gifts You have so graciously given me.
It is by Your grace ALONE that I am saved from eternal punishment and have the promise that one day I will be with You in heaven for eternity. Thank You for rescuing me from my sin and from the clutches of the evil one, Satan. You died for me so that I could have life and life abundantly. Thank You for Your sacrifice.
Thank You for giving me life each new day. When I wake up in the morning, empower me to focus my first thoughts on You. As I lay my head on the pillow at night, remind me of all that You have given me that day. Show me the gifts You have given me and empower me to say a simple, “Thank You” back to You.
Thank You for Your amazing grace. Without it, I would be in a hopeless situation. But, because of Your grace, I have so much to be thankful for today…and every day.Shelly Hitz
I love You, Lord. Amen.
Have you Received His Gift of Saving Grace?
He wants to give it you! It’s available to all humankind. And, that means you! No sin is too great that Jesus can’t forgive it. But, you have to repent — admit that you’re a sinner and stop sinning!
Jesus didn’t suffer and die on the cross so that we could have religion! No! He sacrificed His life, taking our sins away so that we could have a personal relationship with Him!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…