Many years ago, a company hired a new president.
After several months on the job, this new president learned that most of his employees couldn’t pick him out of a line-up. He spent so much time in his office or in meetings or traveling that he rarely met with the people who reported to him.
To fix this problem, he set up a series of lunches. They were off-site at restaurants around town. Every day for weeks, a dozen employees were shuttled to the restaurant for lunch with their president.
But his timing was bad.
During the first two weeks of this campaign to get to know the staff, the company president was on a strict fast. He wanted to lose weight fast to improve his chances of getting into a very exclusive country club.
Because of the fast, the president ate nothing at these lunches. He talked. He was friendly and polite. But he was the only person not eating.
Don’t Fast on Sundays
Last week I told you about the one-meal-a-day fast for spiritual health (with physical and mental benefits). I forgot something important: Sundays are exempt.
I learned this from a very devout and learned theologian about 12 years ago. He was instructing me on Lenten sacrifices. He advised me to exempt Sundays from my sacrifice. Here’s the reason.
All Sundays are holy feast days when God the Father calls us to celebrate His Son, Jesus Christ. God doesn’t want us to work on these feast days, because feast days are for relaxation and enjoyment of the good things God has given us. He has, in biblical terms, prepared a table for us to come to the feast and celebrate and enjoy.
If we refuse to eat the bounty he’s prepared, we’re kind of insulting the Host, aren’t we? We’re turning up our nose at the Lord’s banquet. No matter our reason, to the Host we look like jerks.
The President’s Luncheons
When asked how his lunch with the president was, one of the employees said, “it was weird and uncomfortable.”
Asked why, he said, “well, the people invited when I went were kind of random. I didn’t know most of the people, so it was hard to settle in. Then when the president showed up late, he announced he wasn’t going to be eating anything because he’s on some weird diet. Everybody was kind of uncomfortable eating in front of him, especially knowing he was paying for it.”
When we fast on feast days, we probably make God feel like those employees. We’re not enjoying the sacrifice that made the feast possible.
So never fast on Sundays. Enjoy the feast. Give thanks. Let God feed you and nourish you and join in the celebration. There will be plenty of time to sacrifice in the week ahead.