Christian Chefs International
Things Happen Around the Table
Back in April some friends and I went to San Francisco to celebrate my 40th birthday. We went to one of my favorite restaurants, "Park Chow", and the 18 of us had a time that was more than just special. See, I had just moved back up to northern California about a month before and I had not seen most of these people for almost a year. As it turned out, most of them had not seen each other in almost a year. As all the different conversations around the table were transpiring, relationships were being restored and friendships renewed. Ever wonder why Thanksgiving is such a great holiday, or going out to eat with friends and family is such a good time? A friend of mine named Charles says it is because everything happens around the table. In the Bible, Jesus himself taught one of his last major lessons to his disciples around the table. John Chapters 13 through 17are dedicated to The Last Supper.

So what makes eating together such a special time? Why is it that we have wedding banquets and most corporate meetings come with some sort of food? Look out at your dining room this week. Look at the people fellowshipping and laughing. It is not because of the food -- it is because as we sit down to eat together, we share together, laugh together, and cry together. Food is a part of almost every celebration we have including funerals. As food service professionals, we get the opportunity to contribute to these events. We get to share in the blessing of each person in the dining room.

The food we make is just a tool that God uses to bring people together. He has gifted each and every one of us for the task at hand. If you work in a five star restaurant or a school cafeteria, God has placed you in that position to do just the things you are doing. After 20 years of food service, I can look back and see how God has used me in different situations. One such time was when I was working as the Food Service Director of a Christian school in Watsonville, California, not far from where I grew up in Santa Cruz. It was 7:00 a.m. on the fourth of July in 2001 and a student walked into my dining room all by himself. He came over to me and asked, "Are you a Christian"? I said, "Yes." He then asked me how he could become a Christian and there in the kitchen I showed this young man the way to the Lord.

God can use us in almost any situation if we are willing to be used by Him. This week take a look around the dining room and see the people that God is working with. Even if you work in a non-Christian place, God is still working in those people's lives. He is working in the back of the house as well as the front. He is working in your dishwashers' lives and in the busboys' lives. We serve in a noble profession that God uses to bring people together and to teach the lessons of life. Be blessed and know that God has picked you for such a time as this.

Richard Ignizio, Christian Chef
Santa Cruz


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