Becoming A Spiritual Foodie

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6 NASB

Do you have any foodies in your life? People you like to go to for food advice? Maybe you consider yourself a foodie?

I used to think I was a bit of a foodie when I travelled a lot for business and would have great dining experiences but as with many things, I discovered there are people out there whose passion and appreciation for food is far more developed than mine. These are real foodies. And it seems we have a lot more of them in this generation.

The last few decades have seen an explosion of sophistication in the food experience. From the way it’s portioned, prepared, presented and plated, to the way people’s palettes and food tastes have expanded to enjoy more flavours, textures and cuisines, food has gone to a whole new level in the last half century.

Vancouverites now have a Michelin Guide with 60 recommended restaurants and 8 of them just received a coveted Michelin Star in October 2022.[1]

If you’re part of Coastal Church downtown, you only need to walk a 10 or 15-minute radius around 1160 W Georgia and you could experience some of the most amazing food from anywhere in the world. We have Coastal family members who own successful restaurants, run cooking schools and have even written award-winning cookbooks.

It doesn’t stop there. The internet is now crammed with food media. We have cooking shows, cooking channels and tons of food & wine documentaries and podcasts. And of course – celebrity chefs.

So where did this foodie craze come from?

The term foodie was first introduced in the early 1980s when Paul Levy, a journalist and food-wine editor wrote an article defining foodies as “the new sect which elevates all food to a sacrament”. He later co-authored The Official Foodie Handbook in 1984 with the subtitle: Be Modern – Worship Food.[2] The authors recognized that something was shifting and changing with food in our culture.

As believers, we know the fallen nature of humanity that we received from Adam has the capacity (and even wants) to worship anything that God created. Any of us can fall into the trap of worshipping the creation instead of the Creator.[3] And while some of the foodie craze could involve the worship of food, I like some of the things foodies have brought to the table.

The foodies I know recognize food as something God created for us to enjoy. That the amazing variety of foods and spices and flavour profiles reflect an amazing God of endless beauty and creativity. Foodies of course love hospitality and recognize the power of breaking bread together and would consider some of the most memorable moments of their lives to be around a dinner table.

Jesus and Food

It appears Jesus also loved food. He and his disciples even faced criticism because they enjoyed food and hospitality so much.[4] Jesus even catered a miraculous meal on two occasions to feed the 4,000 and 5,000.[5]

What makes Jesus different is that He had a greater love for spiritual food. One time His disciples recognized He was hungry and urged Him to eat something, and He replied, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” He told the Samaritan woman at the well He could provide her with living water and she would never thirst again. He even called Himself the Bread of Life and promised that whoever came to Him would never go hungry or thirsty.[6]

Jesus was a spiritual foodie. In the Beatitudes, He introduced us to a whole new world of flavours and awakened our spiritual tastebuds to having an appetite for something different:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.”[7]

Becoming a Spiritual Foodie

So, what would a spiritual foodie look like? What would be the signs you’re on your way to having a well-developed palette and appetite for the things of God?

In many ways, you would be just the same as a regular foodie, only the hunger is spiritual. Just for fun, let’s highlight a natural foodie and a spiritual foodie. Here are 10 signs you may be a foodie or a spiritual foodie:

  1. Grocery shopping is one of your favourite things to do. Like groceries to a foodie, a spiritual foodie finds digging into the Bible and listening to great sermons or podcasts as some of their favourite things to do. You don’t just shop for spiritual food on Sundays, but throughout the week and in your small group.
  1. You always try to use locally sourced ingredients. If you’re a spiritual foodie, you’re also into local sourcing. You’re committed and rooted in your local church community and you have a local pastor.
  1. You make bread from scratch at home. If you’re a spiritual foodie, you desire to study your Bible and feed yourself spiritually at home. You don’t just listen to other preachers or read other books and you don’t expect your pastor to do all your spoon feeding for you.
  1. You plan your vacations around meals, not tourist attractions. If you’re a spiritual foodie, you love to travel to other cities and visit great churches or attend church conferences. You have a trip to Israel or the seven churches of Revelation (in Turkey) on your bucket list. A passionate spiritual foodie even takes personal vacation time to go serve on short-term mission trips.
  1. You have more kitchen supplies than clothes. If you’re a spiritual foodie, you’re serious about having good study tools and apps to go deeper in your understanding of God’s word. You invest in conferences, seminars and Bible School courses because you value your spiritual growth more than what is temporary. 
  1. You’ve seen every episode of Chef’s Table. If you’re a spiritual foodie, you seek out solid Christian content to stream. You’ve maybe even binged on The Chosen series and watch the Passion of the Christ or The Gospel of John annually.
  1. You appreciate the old methods of food preparation. A spiritual foodie appreciates their spiritual roots, Church history and loves the Book of Acts. You seek to study and understand the great spiritual awakenings that have brought the Church to where we are today. The Bible never gets outdated to you.
  1. Friends, family and coworkers ask you for lists of places to eat no matter where the city. If you’re a spiritual foodie, people will recognize it and seek you out for spiritual advice, mentoring and to help pray for them. They know you’ve done your homework. 
  1. You don’t eat fast food. A foodie craves Michelin Stars, not Big Macs. If you’re spiritual foodie, you’re very discerning about what you feed your spirit. You’re careful what you allow into your heart through your eyes and ears. You savour what is life and health for your soul. 
  1. Your fondest memories were made when gathering around a table. As a spiritual foodie who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, you’ve cultivated a prayer life around God’s table. Some of your deepest, most powerful moments have been in your prayer times with the LORD – both alone and in corporate prayer.

Is it possible that this explosion of passion for food in our generation is just evidence of a deeper spiritual hunger that’s gone unfulfilled? Might this rampant hunger be a sign that we’re on the verge of a great spiritual food awakening as people discover true fulfillment in Christ?

Just as foodies love to share their passion for all things food, maybe it’s time we allow our hunger and passion for Jesus to be evident in everything we do so that others can experience Him for themselves and taste and see that the LORD is good.[8]