Core scripture: “They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity—all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved” (Acts 2: 46-47).
Message: Let’s focus for one week on those 25 minutes of bliss that come once a day. By the time you walk your class to lunch and in my case heat up your leftovers, you’re talking 20 minutes; but if you use those 20 minutes strategically, recharging your batteries to full life, your afternoons will operate that much smoother. How do you use your lunch time? Is it the same old, same old every day, hiding out in the teacher’s lounge for a bit of peace and quiet. Or maybe you are parked at your desk working through lunch. Whatever you do, here are ten ideas on how you can effectively use your lunch time to fulfill yourself as well as others.
- Eat with a group of Christian colleagues. Sometimes there is no better way to rejuvenate yourself than to enjoy fellowship with fellow believers. Believers will encourage you. You can empty yourself to them if you need to. Share a laugh or two, put some Christian music on your YouTube channel, and laugh with friends for a short while. That could be all you need to power you through your afternoon.
- Eat while watching a sermon online. I love finding little 10-15 minute sermons on a website that my church pays for called rightnowmedia.org. Let the Word of God be that extra bread for the soul as you relax and unwind. I am currently watching two series, and both are providing a positive perspective on spiritual warfare and the Book of Ephesians respectively. Invite a friend if you think they would benefit!
- Eat with a needy student. One of the greatest gifts you can give youth is the wisdom in your heart on how to navigate life’s trials. Even though preaching the Word is out of the question here, you can certainly provide a Godly perspective. Be leery, however, about where you choose to eat. I personally like eating in the library corner table, visible for others to see. Make it your routine to pour into that kid one day a week.
- Eat with your 5th hour lunch class. This has become a tradition over the past few years. Dine With Daniels happens every Friday, and any kid is invited to bring lunch into my room to fellowship. We laugh over goofy YouTube videos, we enjoy conversation, and we let down our guards, allowing our real selves to shine though. I always dismiss this two minutes before lunch is over to take their trays back, and the kids are mostly good about cleaning up. The key word there is mostly!
- Eat with a devotion or Bible in hand. Much like I mentioned above, there is nothing like the Word of God to inject truth into your day. Sometimes I need that 15-20 extra minutes for quiet time. Prayer can certainly be inserted here as well. Thank God for your many blessings, and ask for His guidance in being the Christian teacher He called you to be. Quiet yourself, and listen to see what the Holy Spirit has in store for you.
- Eat with a colleague. Last week I caught a para sitting down in the teacher’s lounge that assists me in two of my classes. It was incredible just getting to know him on a more personal level. We exchanged stories, laughed together, and by the end of lunch had a much better understanding of each other. I now feel I have a better grasp on what makes him tick, helping me utilize his strengths for the good of my students.
- Eat to simply unwind by yourself. Believe me, there are days when I just want to crawl into a hole! I plop myself down at my desk, find the latest Kansas City Chiefs highlights on http://www.espn.com, and decompress from the chaos of the morning. That down time is essential in recharging my batteries to prepare me for the afternoon. By the end it never fails! I am fully armed for battle and ready to rock and roll.
- Eat while working. Sometimes I need to play catchup. E-mails clog my inbox, papers need organizing, and maybe I can crank out a few papers to grade while scarfing a sandwich. I need those days just to stay afloat when the storms of life are capsizing my boat, and I feel like I am drowning in deep waters. Just don’t overdo it. Take a minute or two to pray for strength and get done what you can. God will ALWAYS pull you through.
- Eat while talking to a loved one over the phone. Anyone have a spouse at home like me? Maybe you haven’t checked in with your mom or dad in a while. Or a grandparent. Or a trusted friend. Call them. Let them know you’re thinking of them. Pray for that person over the phone. I did that with my wife once last year, only for a couple minutes, and her response was priceless: “I needed that.”
- Eat nothing. Fasting can sometimes be quite effective. I don’t do it often, but when I do it, I do it purposefully. Maybe once or twice a year. It has been my tradition to fast on May 7 for a few years now, and it always grounds me, allowing me to rely on scripture and prayer for my bread. Jesus is indeed the bread of life, and He is all we need for fuel. Why not give Him your full heart through that time alone with Him?
Did you find any new ideas on how to spend lunchtime? I hope so. Maybe you have an idea of your own that you’d like to share. Feel free to reply to this blog below and impart wisdom on the rest of us. Use your lunch time as a time to intentionally grow with God. Mix it up! Don’t be content with the same old routine every day. Find ways to grow with God, with others, with yourself. And never forget to give thanks to Him for His provisions. You are beyond blessed to eat in His presence daily when others across the world may not have that consistency.
Challenge: Which of the above ways to have lunch will you utilize this school year? Pick one or two, maybe something you have never tried before, and give it a shot. See how it works for you. You might just find something that will inspire growth in Christ.
Song: “Brother” by Needtobreathe is a wonderful song about how we need one another to get through life and how we can be a blessing to others through fellowship. Listen to the song on YouTube to inspire you to reach out to others.
Prayer: God, I pray my lunchtime can be used however You need me to use it, not for myself but for You. May I grow in You, fellowship with others, and rejuvenate my soul to Your will. Amen.