Friday, August 23, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Ministry

Food and Fellowship: Powerful Tools of Ministry
A devotional by Heather Martin

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” –Hebrews 13:16 (NIV)

We were newlyweds and had just moved to a city where we had no family.

My husband and I were both raised in the church, and so the one thing we knew that would be a great balance for us would be to find a good church.

I can still remember going to this church for the first time together as husband and wife. From the moment we walked through the door we were met with so many hugs, smiles, and genuine welcomes. I had never met more friendly people in my life! They were so kind and warm. After the service was over, several people had invited us home for dinner. We were blown away by the kindness of strangers.

After we returned home and talked about it, we thought surely they were only this nice to us because we were new, but it never stopped. We lived there for seven years, and this kindness never stopped. We spent time at someone’s house for potluck or some kind of dinner every week! Rarely did we go home alone. We formed friendships and alliances with people that only drew us closer to God and helped to strengthen our new marriage.

It’s been several years since we moved away from Cincinnati, but the memories of how that church family loved on us has left an indelible impression on our lives. It must be what Christ meant when He said to love one another, and not to forsake fellowship with your brothers and sisters.

Over the years, because of my husband’s job, we have moved to quite a few cities and we have yet to find a church family like that one. It has been hard not to compare each church to our Cincinnati one. We often found ourselves complaining and disappointed with the lack of love and fellowship at the churches we’ve attended since then. Until recently, God sent someone to help remind us that if things are not the way you’d like them to be, then sometimes you have to create the change you want to see.

I got a call from an old college friend of mine telling me that her son would be in town for the summer doing a dental program at a local university here. She asked if we could please look out for him and if possible, pick him up for church each week. Without hesitation we agreed! It would be our honor to get to know him, pick him for church and provide him with a good meal after church while he was here.

This meant I would need to cook dinner each week, something that I had not been doing regularly. It also made sense to invite other people over for dinner too, since there would be plenty of food to share. For one month straight, I cooked dinner after church and hosted several people at our home. It was nothing fancy, but each time I prayed and asked God to help the people to enjoy themselves, and especially the food, and they did!

I am thankful that my friend asked us to look out for her son. This sparked something inside of me! When Jesus was on earth He was constantly changing people’s lives, healing, and ministering to people, and so many times food was involved. He went to a wedding feast and turned water into wine (John 2:1-11). He served the disciples their first communion using bread and wine (Luke 22:19-20). And who can forget how He used one little boy’s lunch of fish and bread to feed 5,000 people (Matthew 14:13-21)?

Food and fellowship can be powerful tools of ministry!

I may not have dinner at my house every single week, but I will make an effort to invite people over at least once a month.

When I host and feed people in my home, it makes me remember the love and warmth I felt back in Cincinnati when those church folks were so kind to us. It also made me realize that if we want to experience love, we’ve got to be the ones to give love.

Maybe you’ve moved to a new place, or you’ve been feeling alone because no one has invited you home or befriended you. Whether it is at church, or anywhere, I want to encourage you to use the power of food and fellowship to change your situation.

Plan a meal! It doesn’t have to be an extravagant affair. Your house doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to be an award-winning chef. Pray while you prepare your meal, and invite the most important guest first, Jesus Christ. 

Then take the leap to invite someone over for dinner!

You will make a difference in your life and somebody else’s by showing God’s love through food and fellowship.

God bless you, your home and your heart!

Author Bio:

Heather Martin was born the last of six siblings in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was raised by an amazing single mother (Rebecca Trotter) and was taught at an early age to love God and how to sing! 

She graduated from Oakwood University with a Bachelor's Degree in Language Arts Education and later received a Master’s Degree in Education from Kaplan University.

Shortly after graduating she followed God’s call to minister. She joined the Stellar, Dove, and Grammy-nominated gospel group Virtue, which was founded by her two older sisters Ebony Holland and Karima Kibble several years prior. Virtue has used their talents to spread the love of God across the world! They have recorded 7 studio albums and have been the recipients of numerous awards.

God has not only blessed Heather professionally, but personally. She met her husband, Dr. Colin Martin, and they have been married for 14 years. They have four children: Colin Jr. 11, Harper 10, Clark, 7, and Charleston 5.

In 2016, Heather started an online blog and vegan and allergen-friendly cooking channel called “Chef Mommy.” Heather (Chef Mommy) has cooked with numerous celebrities and top chefs to spread the news of healthy cooking and lifestyle.

In addition to this busy schedule, Heather enjoys, running, reading, writing and spending time with her family.

Connect with Heather:
Instagram for Heather:
Instagram for Virtue (Heather’s singing group):

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